NYC Mayor Rescinds Space-sharing Agreement for Three Charter Schools
Newly-elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that space-sharing agreements for three New York City charter schools have been rescinded. This decision marks an abrupt change from de Blasio’s charter-friendly predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who helped create a supportive environment for publicly funded charter schools and was a proponent of space-sharing agreements between charter schools and traditional public schools.
The three charter schools affected by de Blasio’s announcement are operated by the Success Academy network. Two of the charter schools have yet to open, and will likely not open because of de Blasio’s decision, while the third charter school, Success Academy Harlem 4, will not be able to expand. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Success Harlem 4 is already an excellent school, where “83 percent of the students passed the state math exam last year, putting it in the top one percent of all schools in the state.”
NYC charter school success is not limited to Success Harlem 4. Take, for example, Success Academy Harlem 5, which shares a building with P.S. 123. The two schools serve the same neighborhood and share the same demographics. There is, however, a stark difference between the two schools: 88 percent of Harlem 5’s students passed New York’s state math test compared to only 5 percent of students at P.S. 123. This is not an isolated instance; many other NYC charter schools boast superior test scores to their traditional public school neighbors.
With approximately 50,000 families on charter school wait lists in New York, parents increasingly seek high-quality educational options for their children. But access is currently limited. Since demand for charter schools often exceeds supply, schools fill many coveted spots through lotteries, leaving some children unable to attend. Parents should not have to leave their child’s future up to chance.
Last year, ALEC’s 18th Report Card on American Education provided New York’s charter laws with a grade of “B.” Instead of scaling back access to charter schools, New York City should respond to the needs of parents and students, promoting school choice by opening up access high-quality educational options.