New York City

Thousands of kids rally in Albany for more charter schools

Haimson: More charters could cost city millions

March 4, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Roughly 9,000 kids from across the state traveled to Albany on Wednesday to rally for charter schools. Charter organizations want state officials to open more charter schools. Photo by Lucas Zwirner
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Roughly 9,000 kids from across the state got a day off from school on Wednesday, as they traveled to Albany to rally for charter schools.

Charter organizations are pushing state officials to open more charter schools and increase projected per pupil funding for charter schools, saying that public schools are “failing.”

“It’s powerful to see everyone united in the same color under the same mission, and to have our kids feel the gravity of being in the state capital to send this message,” said Korey McCants, an eighth-grade science teacher at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School.

Teachers, parents and kids wearing red shirts gathered in front of the state capitol building.

“I feel the energy from the sea of red, sending a message that people have ambition and are hungry for great education that will push us as a city, a state, and a nation,” said Julliana Jimenez, a sixth-grader at Success Academy Harlem East, according to her teacher Rebecca Samel. Julliana also noted that the word impossible has “I’m possible” in it.

Participating organizations included the politically-connected Success Academy, headed by former Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, along with schools belonging to smaller networks, such as Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings, Brooklyn Charter School, PAVE Academy Charter School and others.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to increase the number of charter schools. The teachers union and Mayor Bill de Blasio oppose raising the cap, saying that charters divert resources, including precious classroom space, away from public schools.

Haimson: More charters could cost city millions

The Governor’s proposal to raise the cap could potentially subject New York City to up to 250 new charters — all obligated to receive space at the city’s expense, according to Leonie Haimson, head of the advocacy group Class Size Matters. On Wednesday, Haimson testified before the NYC Council Education Committee.

If 250 charters were imposed on the city, she told Councilmembers, “Our rough estimate is that this could cost an additional $833 million per year.  Of that amount, the cost to the city would be roughly $357 million per year, with the state covering the remaining portion at $476 million per year.”

Members of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a federation of unionized teachers and other school personnel, rallied against charters on Feb. 27. They said that Cuomo was attempting to “scapegoat” unionized teachers and trying to “privatize public education.”

The Charter Schools Committee of the State University of New York Board of Trustees will meet Friday, March 6, 2015 10 a.m. in Albany.

De Blasio has initiated a major $150 million Renewal Schools program to support troubled public schools – a different tactic than the one followed by the Bloomberg administration, which simply closed them.


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