Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Charter Schools

Charter Schools

  • gov attends charter

    (photo: the governor's office)


    James Merriman has been involved in the charter school movement in New York since its inception 20 years ago, first as the general counsel for the Charter Schools Institute and now, for the last 12 years, as CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, a leading charter school advocacy and resource group.

    “My parents were both professors. I thought I was going to be a professor. It’s all anybody did in my house,” Merriman said in ...

  • whats the data point


    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 78 -- 118,977, the Growing Charter School Sector in New York City, with James Merriman of the New York City Charter School Center[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    jam merr podJames Merriman, the CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, joined the podcast to discuss the state of

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  • ember charter2

    (image: @EmberCS_BedStuy)


    [Update (6/3/19): shortly before the Board of Regents meeting on Monday, June 3, Ember Charter School's application to expand was added to the agenda]

    [Update (6/5/19): the Board of Regents sent application back the city DOE with comments, no final decision has been made]

    The founder of a black-led charter school in Brooklyn with a focus on African and African-American cultural education is alleging the New York State Education Department (SED) is surreptitiously blocking the school’s

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  • students with signs

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    There has been much discussion that the state Legislature and Governor Cuomo may raise the cap on charter schools, especially since the sub-cap of 235 charter schools in New York City has now been reached. As public school parents and co-chairs of the Education Council Consortium, which represents the elected parent leaders of Community Education Councils across the five boroughs, we overwhelmingly oppose raising the cap

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  • govcuomo capi rally

    Gov. Cuomo at a charter school rally (photo: governor's office)


    After several new charter schools were approved last month, the cap on such schools allowed in New York City was reached. New York State has a cap on the number of issuable charters, which allow a group to start a new charter school, the controversial, privately-run, publicly-funded schools that mostly proliferate in the five boroughs and educate roughly 10% of the city's 1 million students. Within the larger cap, there is a sub-cap for charters that can be issued for schools in New York

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  • albany charter gov

    (photo: the governor's office)


    Throughout his tenure, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been a strong advocate for charter schools as part of his broader education policy, even as many of his fellow Democrats are far less friendly toward, if not opposed to, the privately-run, publicly-funded schools. Cuomo has repeatedly supported and helped orchestrate a raising of the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in New York, both across the state, and the sub-cap for New York City, where the vast majority of charters exist.

    Now, as that sub-cap on charter

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  • nycmayorsoffice 1st dayschool

    (Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When the New York State Board of Regents met last month, the mood was despondent. “The needle hasn’t moved for minority children in decades,” said Regent Kathy Cashin, decrying the racial achievement gap on the newly-released 2018 state exam scores for students in grades 3-8. The reaction of the Regents ran the usual gamut of hand-wringing, blaming the tests, and calling for more dilatory “analysis.”

    And then came ...

  • de Blasio school visit

    Mayor de Blasio on a school visit (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    My daughter is a third-grader in one of Mayor de Blasio’s so-called Renewal Schools in Harlem. When I first heard about the program, I was hopeful: P.S. 149 needed attention and change to become the kind of school I wanted for my daughter. But, as a parent, I have not seen much renewal.

    Since the program started, enrollment at P.S. 149 has dropped 25 percent. For the kids who have stayed, scores haven’t improved much – students passing the English Language Arts

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  • lenny cci opening

    Opportunity Charter School leader Leonard Goldberg, middle, the author


    A new report from the city's Comptroller showed once again that the City is unable to fulfill its responsibility to provide the necessary services to students with disabilities, failing to track $84 million allocated for disabled student services. Worse still, these findings come on the heels of the Public Advocate's report that revealed a troubling trend whereby the city offers parents vouchers instead of the necessary, required services for children with special needs. Troubling, but not surprising.

    It’s

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  • success academy rally crop

    A charter school rally (photo: @SuccessAcademy)


    Questions: How do you turn a 25 percent graduation rate into a misleading claim of 100 percent success? When does a school’s 30 percent proficiency rate on an 8th grade reading test translate into the assertion that nearly half of the students passed?

    Answer: when charter schools do their own accounting, and authorizers allow them to paper over the fact that huge percentages of the children who start in charter schools get driven or eased out.

    Charters claim that they serve the same children

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  • Gotham Gazette: Eva Moskowitz

    (via @MoskowitzEva)


    There's a reason why New Yorkers reject Eva Moskowitz's "bipartisan" defense for her photo ops and meetings with the governing Republican Party in Washington, D.C.. While Ms. Moskowitz touts her registration as a Democrat, her actions are

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  • de blasio law interpretation

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    A much talked-about provision of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 13th-hour deal to have his control over city schools extended was the agreement that 22 revoked or surrendered charter school charters could be reissued without counting towards the predetermined state cap on the number of charter schools.

    In exchange for a two-year extension of mayoral control of city

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  • de blasio mayoral control event

    Mayor de Blasio at City Hall, June 29 (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio negotiated a deal to extend mayoral control of city schools in exchange for a set of administrative actions benefitting charter schools. When the mayor celebrated the extension of mayoral control -- which was due to expire at the end of June, but was extended June 29 -- he did not release the details of the charter-friendly promises he was making to Republican state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, and

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  • mulgrew classroom

    Michael Mulgrew, the author (photo: UFT)


    Children who miss 20 or more days of school in New York City have lost so much instruction time that they are classified as chronically absent, which studies have linked to lower test scores and higher dropout rates.

    So it is hard to see the educational purpose behind Success Academy's suspending a special-needs 7-year-old for 45 days, even if some form of alternative instruction was provided. This one recent example is part of a much larger pattern, both for Success Academy and the larger charter school sector

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  • james merriman nyccsc

    James Merriman, the author


    The New York City Independent Budget Office, the nonpartisan government watchdog, recently issued a report with some startling findings: Students in public charter schools will receive a lot less public funding and support this year than students in district schools. How much less? The IBO found that the gap started at $1,100 per student if the charter school is co-located in a public school building and shot up to nearly $5,000 if it isn’t.

    And, the IBO found that the future is even grimmer—that gap will grow in

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  • uft teacher floor

    (photo: UFT)


    Even as they are pleading poverty to the Legislature in Albany, charter schools across New York State are sitting on nearly half a billion dollars in cash and unrestricted assets.

    An investigation by the state teachers union has shown that New York City charter schools alone have at least $323 million in unrestricted net assets, most of it in cash. When you add in charters in the rest of New York State, the sector as a whole has unrestricted assets of more than $450 million.

    Those are resources that can be used to pay for academic

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  • Success Academy Binghamton

    photo: @SuccessCharters


    Release of the most recent student test scores on state English and math exams for third- through eighth-graders set off widespread celebration in public education circles. Supporters and leaders of charter schools and traditional public schools alike have been promoting the results, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has cited test score jumps as proof that his education agenda is working.

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  • de blasio school student discipline

    De Blasio at Brooklyn Generation School (photo: Ed Reed, Mayor's Office)


    In April 2015, the New York City Department of Education modified its discipline code and added an extra step to the process for suspending students from school. Principals are now required to receive authorization from the DOE before suspending students in grades K through 2 for any behavior or any student of any age for incidents involving insubordination, such as cursing at a teacher or refusing to leave a classroom. The change was made in an effort to

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  • moskowitz rally

    Eva Moskowitz & students at a charter school rally (photo: @MoskowitzEva)


    With 34 schools currently serving around 11,000 students, Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy is, and will likely continue to be, the largest charter school network in New York City. Success currently operates in four boroughs and Moskowitz has an ambitious target of reaching 100 schools within the next decade, which prompts the question: Why are there no Success Academy schools on Staten Island?

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  • de blasio education

    Mayor de Blasio (photo via The Mayor's Office)


    Mayor de Blasio's annual State of the City address is a natural time to take a step back and review his performance running the largest school system in the United States. For StudentsFirstNY, our most basic litmus test for policymakers is a simple question – are they putting the interests of students first? After two full years with Mayor de Blasio, we can definitively say that the answer is "no."

    In analyzing Mayor de Blasio's stewardship of city schools, there are several themes that

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