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Charter Schools Struggle to Expand in New York
posted by: Winworld | May 28, 2015, 08:40 PM   

By Conner Dunleavy


Partisan politics have once again stopped action from being taken in the best interest of students in the state of New York. As a battle between state senate Republicans (allied with Governor Cuomo), and state assembly Democrats (allied with powerful teachers’ unions) heats up, charter school students and student hopefuls are caught in the political crossfire. While senate Republicans attempt to raise the charter school cap by 100 schools, Assembly Democrats are fighting to keep the cap at current levels.


Due to their nature of being publically funded but independently run, public charter schools allow for tens of thousands of students– both in New York and 42 other states– to gain access to higher quality education opportunities in areas where their traditional public school counterparts are struggling. This is particularly critical in lower income communities.

The fact that public charter schools are not traditionally staffed by unionized employees has led to this state government feud. In practice, independent charter schools have freedom to innovate absent lengthy contracts.


New York City in particular has the largest waitlist in the country for students wanting to enroll in a public charter school. At over 163,000 students, it dwarfs the second longest list in Los Angeles with a comparatively small 68,200. Yet only 70,000 students out of over 1,000,000 have access to charter school education, compared to 140,000 out of just over 600,000 students in LA.


Therefore, when the state put out a call for new public charter school applications they received a whopping 15 for new charter schools across the state. Yet these applications, all 15, were then rejected by the state authorizers for “failing to meet academic standards.”

This explanation is not sufficient for public charter school advocates who feel that the assembly stalwarts aren’t recognizing the demand for students, teachers, and communities.


AAE knows that public charter schools are producing results that are often unmatched by traditional public schools in certain areas. That’s we fully support of any legislation that paves the way for new and innovative learning environments - including charters and virtual schools. New York stakeholders deserve options.

What do you think about New York’s struggle?
Comment below.



ConnerDunleavyAs the 2015 summer intern for AAE, Conner supports the communications and marketing team in the DC AAE office. From the class of 2017, he intends to graduate from the University at Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in European History and a Minor in Education.




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