I am writing to you today because I am not pleased with the current legislative limit concerning the number of schools opened in New York City. The current limit of the state-chartered schools is 460, with a smaller sub-cap on the city. Charter schooling has been going on for the past 20 years now, and currently, only 85 charters are available to be issued outside of New York City, and none is available within the city. The state has 85 alliances, which would benefit the city if the cap were removed, and the available charters were issued. The children residing in the city will gain access to quality education.
Most families would love to send their children to quality and high-performing schools. However, in New York, the charter cap has limited the freedom of African American and low-income families to access better education for their children. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the underprivileged community very hard; therefore, improving the city’s education landscape will give every kid a chance to succeed. The existing cap continues to shut the door for low-income families seeking better opportunities for their children. Your government should therefore try to consider reissuing any revoked, surrendered, or terminated charters so that the city could benefit from them.
In New York City, there is a limit on the number of charter schools that can open, a cap that is limiting quality educational options for the most underprivileged children. Currently, 138,000 children attend 267 charter schools across the five boroughs funded publicly and independently run with strict accountability requirements (Spark, 2020). Charter schools do not drain funding from district-run schools, contrary to the argument many politicians have raised, resulting in increased aid from the state budget to district schools.
Before introducing the COVID-19 pandemic, one out of every five black and one out of every ten Hispanic students residing in the city were enrolled in a charter school (Buerger & Bifulco, 2019). When the two groups are combined, they form approximately ninety percent of the total students enrolled in the charter schools. Regardless of the numbers and devastating and unfulfilled requests for more charter schools, the legislative stopped the expansion of the charter schools. The legislature claims that parents are causing more harm to the public-school education system by seeking better and well-performing schools for their children.
Charter schools quickly adapt to their environment, and it can make the student’s learning smooth. Evidence can be seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, where chartered schools adopted technology faster than district schools (Reich et al., 2020). Expanding the cap on chartered schools could produce numerous benefits such as improved student achievement, increased innovation by educators, a comprehensive educational option for students, and healthy competition for traditional public schools. Charter school attendance can bring the best out of a student’s achievement. Most students who transfer to a charter school tend to improve their performance.
Students who attend charter schools have a higher probability of graduating high school and later joining college to further their education. There is a study conducted in Chicago and Florida whose findings indicated that the likelihood of students pursuing a degree or entering college is higher than students who attended traditional school. The underprivileged children and their parents choose the schools because most have a proven academic track record of surpassing district-run schools. This eliminated the wide race achievement gaps available in the traditional public school system—more than twice as many student applicants as charter spaces, indicating that supply does not meet demand. The handful of new school applications that New York State inspectors have already accepted cannot open their doors to children due to a legal requirement.
Charter schools are more viable options for a student than district schools. The reason is that the school is subject to the purview of federal, state, and local policymakers who can help the school to ensure that they serve as a sustainable and valuable alternative to traditional schools. Just in case charter schools perform poorly, the federal government can share the school plans that contributed to the success of other charter schools across different states.
Since the introduction of charter schools, fair competition made the district schools improve their performance. In 2006 the district school’s performance in New York City was 11 points below the state average. However, by the end of 2018, the district schools had improved to 2 points higher than the rest of the state (Rapa et al., 2018). The improvement of the district schools across the state was because of increased student enrollment in the charter schools. The number of students that enrolled in the city’s charter school was recorded to be more than 107,000.
The legislature and studies set the tuition fee for charter schools have found that the student’s payment amount is less than the allocation to the district schools. In the 2016 and 2017 financial years, the charter schools received 1,145 US dollars per student less than the students in the district school (Domanico, 2019). There are charters housed and paid for by the private sector, and those schools received 4863 US dollars less per student in public funding.
Numerous scientific investigations have refuted that New York City charter schools prosper because they attract the best pupils. Charter schools are required by law to admit kids through a lottery system from among all applicants; charter schools cannot pick students. There’s also little proof that charter schools in the city recruit superior students. No significant changes in school demographics at the public schools in New York after charter entry would explain improved student performance. There’s also little evidence to back up the claim that charter schools thrive by weeding out the weaker students: In New York City, charter school attrition is lower than in adjacent district schools.
One of the most critical concerns in state charter school policy is whether or not to cap, and if so, at what number. The cap represents a state’s overall attitude toward charter schools, whether it restricts them or allows them to expand. The quality of hats is the focus of much of the controversy. According to charter school supporters, Caps unilaterally limit charter schools without regard for their quality. The caps limit parents’ and students’ options to demand high-quality education, as seen by the thousands of student names on charter school waiting lists. The NGA Center for Best Practices estimates to be approximately 350,000 students. The caps are arbitrary, preventing free-market competition from establishing the optimal number of schools.
Caps can restrict innovation and discourage risk-taking by promoting a more conventional model of charters to be accepted, as only a limited number of alliances can be opened. Caps, according to proponents, do control the overall quality of charter schools. Because caps only allow a certain number of schools, they incentivize authorizers to be more stringent in their closure and approval choices. Caps can control the number of charter schools and the amount of money spent on them. However, evidence shows that caps alone do not influence the quality of charter schools. According to Gleason (2019), states that have any limitations on charter schooling showed lower academic advances in terms of children’s access to education than ones without one. Although the study includes a controversial stance on charter schooling that provides a rationale for shifting focus back to public schooling, the research outcomes demonstrate the academic advantages presented by charted schooling, such as learners’ stimulation and personalized approach to academics (Gleason, 2019). Simultaneously, data from the same study revealed that charter schools performed better on reading and math tests than regular schools.
Charter schools in the city provide the possibility of social mobility and academic success to the poorest and underprivileged children residing in the city. Most of the traditional public schools in the city cannot provide the same benefits as the chartered schools. The growth of charter schools hasn’t slowed the progress of district schools. On the other hand, the empirical data reveals that where charter schools have impacted district schools, it has been a catalyst for improvement. These are the facts that legislators should consider as they debate the future of the charter cap in New York City. To conclude, the existing cap continues to shut the door for low-income families seeking better opportunities for their children. We would like your government to try and consider reissuing any revoked, surrendered, or terminated charters so that the city could benefit from them.
Buerger, C., & Bifulco, R. (2019). The effect of charter schools on districts’ student composition, costs, and efficiency: The case of New York State. Economics of Education Review, 69, 61-72. Web.
Domanico, R. (2019). Lift the cap: Why New York City needs more charter schools. Issue brief [PDF document]. Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Web.
Gleason, P. M. (2019). Let the search continue: Charter schools and the public interest. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 38(4), 1054-1062. Web.
Rapa, L. J., Katsiyannis, A., & Ennis, R. P. (2018). Charter school enrollment effects: A review of results from recent large-scale studies. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(10), 3132-3140. Web.
Reich, J., Buttimer, C. J., Fang, A., Hillaire, G., Hirsch, K., Larke, L. R., & Slama, R. (2020). Remote learning guidance from state education agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic: A first look. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Web.
Sparks, D. (2021). School board privatization: A case study of New York City charter schools. National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Working Paper 245. Web.