Amidst the ravages of COVID and its many societal side effects, New York City’s traditional public school enrollment has fallen, and the number of families choosing charter schools has grown. The parents of 142,000 students now attending the independently run public schools — and thousands more trying to get in — are seeking rigorous academics, stricter discipline and more.
Yet again and again, charters are still forced to swim upstream against a brutal current. Albany insists on maintaining a hard cap on the number that can open. Inside the city, activists, local pols and the teachers union treat charters as lepers when they dare to try to use space in school buildings with plenty of usable classrooms.
Mayor de Blasio and his chancellors openly advertised their hostility to charters. It was supposed to be different and better under Mayor Adams and Chancellor David Banks. But the deck remains stacked: Yesterday, what should’ve been no-brainer approval of co-locations of Success Academy schools in two Queens and one Bronx building got yanked off the Panel for Educational Policy’s agenda due to irrational opposition.
Co-location is common citywide. Hundreds of facilities, including the buildings at issue here, happily house multiple district-run schools. Charter kids and only charter kids are treated as invaders.
The protesters claimed there wasn’t enough room for the new kids, but by every objective measure, there was plenty. Some said it was wrong to put elementary school students with teenagers, which was set to happen in one of the schools. But the DOE has already commingled even younger kids and teens there without a peep of protest.
After buckling, Banks yesterday proclaimed he was “committed to continue to work with Success Academies to find suitable facilities for their new schools, as we are required to do by law.” That’s easily said. Those with axes to grind against charters will distort and deflect to make the next set of suitable facilities look unsuitable too. Someone has to stand up for fairness and sanity. Somebody has to fight for charter school kids.
Daily News Editorial Board