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Poll Shows Majority of NYC Parents Want More Charter Schools, Notwithstanding Cap Stands

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By: Ilana Siyance

A new poll shows that a majority of New York City parents want more charter schools.  A Morning Consult survey conducted for the pro-school choice Democrats for Education Reform (DFER-NY) revealed that 64 percent of parents have a favorable opinion of charter schools, while just 22 percent have a negative opinion, with the remaining 14 percent undecided or having no opinion.

As reported by the NY Post, the online poll shows that parents want Gov. Kathy Hochul and lawmakers in Albany to drop the state-imposed cap on the number of charters, so as to open more of the alternative schools for kids.  In the poll, taken on Jan. 23-24, about 600 registered voters and parents were also asked: “As you may know, New York state has set a cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open, and New York City has reached that limit, meaning no more charter schools can be authorized to open. Do you support or oppose New York state increasing the cap on the number of public charter schools allowed to open in New York City?”  In response, 64 percent said they support increasing the cap, while just 23 percent of parents said they were opposed, with the rest undecided.  Simply put, of those parents who expressed an opinion in the survey, roughly three-quarters supported opening more charter schools.

Charter Schools are publicly funded, privately managed and most have non-unionized staff.  There is data that shows that in the existing charter schools, students mostly outperform peers on the state’s standardized English and math tests, compared to neighboring traditional public schools.  There are currently 275 charter schools in NYC, for a total enrollment of 142,500 students, or about 15% of all public schools.  No additional charter schools may be added without raising the cap, leaving dozens of proposed schools stalled. Additionally, even charter schools which have received approval are having a hard time finding the space.

As per the Post, just last week, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks blocked three Success Academy charter schools from co-locating in three school facilities in Queens and The Bronx.  The objections in the case stemmed from local elected officials, the United Federation of Teachers union and from educators who run the traditional public schools and who would have to share space with the charters.  All the while, tens of thousands of students are on wait lists to attend the state’s limited charter schools.

Also Gov. Kathy Hochul and Democrats controlling state legislature seem to be ignoring parents’ obvious preference for the charters and have refused to increase the state-imposed cap.  This may be because of their close relations with the teachers union, which is against the charter schools.

“New Yorkers always want more choices, and this poll shows that includes more high quality choices in the public school system. For too long, families in some of the poorest communities have been denied the opportunity to select the best school for their families,” said DFER NY Executive Director Jacquelyn Martell.  “Public charter schools ensure every family has high-quality options, and we look forward to working with leaders in Albany to lift the cap on public charters.”

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