Stop adding new charter schools: Keep the cap and ensure that badly needed financial resources flow to traditional public schools
New York State legislators need to halt planned charter school expansions that would only solidify charters as a parallel — but unregulated and discriminatory — school system, one that is draining resources from many of New York’s neediest kids.
Current proposals to deal with the appalling lack of black and Hispanic students in the city's specialized high schools by creating even more such "exam" schools are feeding the political and media obsession with these schools; at the same time this focus distracts the system from the much larger problem -- the academic isolation that affects tens of thousands of students in roughly 20 percent of city high schools.
The finding in the Janus case will make it more difficult for unions to gather the resources they need to defend the interests of workers and their families. But our union will remain strong, and we will not be silenced.
If New York City is going to have the first-class public education system it deserves, then the new chancellor and the city’s Panel for Educational Policy need to tackle the widespread academic segregation in the city’s high schools — a problem within their power to solve.
The thousands of New York City students who walked out of their classrooms on March 14 to honor those murdered in the Parkland, Florida mass-shooting didn’t ask for Kevlar vests or gun-toting teachers. They do want adults to do the hard work to make their schools safe — to stand up to the national gun lobby, but also to arm staff with knowledge, such as how to create safe school environments, and to train them in how to recognize and de-escalate potentially violent situations.
Charters claim that they serve the same children as city public schools, but the truth is that they enroll and keep half the percentage of English Language Learners, dramatically fewer special education students, including those needing the highest level of intervention, and far fewer children who are homeless or in temporary housing.
In 2002 and 2009 State Senate Republicans, saying that the New York City’s public schools needed predictable and accountable management, couldn't wait to give former Mayor Bloomberg long-term control of the schools. But if the principle of mayoral control was enough to ensure that Bloomberg got a total of 13 years as head of the school system, why has Mayor de Blasio had to fight to get even one-year extensions of the mayoral control law?
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.