Governor Cuomo has called the State Senate and Assembly back into session in order to extend mayoral control for NYC schools for the coming year. Most members of the legislature support mayoral control.
However, Republicans in the State Senate, led by Majority Leader Flanagan, are trying to force through a bill that would extend mayoral control only if NYC accepted a dramatic increase in the number of new charter schools permitted to open in the city. Their legislation would also remove all caps placed on charter school expansion in areas outside the city and introduce tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools.
This is right out of the Betsy DeVos playbook and would be devastating for public schools and public school students in the city.
- Research demonstrates that unchecked charter school expansion has fueled resegregation in urban school districts. Charter schools also suspend more black students and children with disabilities than their public school counterparts. As a result, the NAACP recently joined a growing chorus of civil rights groups calling for a nationwide moratorium on charter schools.
- Charter schools lack the financial and instructional oversight of district public schools and are consequently more prone to fraud and profit-driven corporate corruption.
- There is growing evidence that many rapidly expanding charter school networks intentionally exclude and fail to meet the needs of students with disabilities. In fact, charter schools in NYC “lose” an average of 6-11% of their students annually, whereas public schools tend to gain students as children get older. These “lost” students are usually struggling children who wind up in their district public schools after being expelled or counseled out of charters.
- Although there are some excellent charter schools in NYC (which will be unhindered by keeping the current cap), there is no evidence that charter schools, on the whole, perform better than neighborhood public schools, or that shutting down community schools and replacing them with privately-run charters is the best way to help our underserved communities.
- Most important, increasing the number of charter schools permitted to open in NYC means increasing the number of public schools that will be starved of resources via a loss of per-pupil funding and will ultimately be shut down.
Here’s what you can do:
- Call your state senator: https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator
*Note: If your state senator is a member of the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference), he/ she voted yes on Flanagan’s bill to increase the charter cap.
2. Call your assembly member: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/
3. Call Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390
Script: Hi, my name is… and I’m a constituent from… (zip). [Insert personal details: I am a public school parent, teacher, graduate etc.] I am calling because I believe we should renew mayoral control for NYC schools without lifting the charter school cap. We need well-funded public schools with qualified teachers— not more chain charter schools. [Feel free to include more reasons from above]