New York’s Charter School Revolution Hits a Milestone

Source: Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2016

Sorry, but I have some bad news for opponents of school choice. The Success Academy public charter-school network, which is based in New York City, marked its 10th anniversary this year and shows no signs of slowing down. The first school opened in Harlem on Aug. 20, 2006. The 165 kindergartners and first-graders, chosen by lottery, shared a building with a traditional public school. Now there are 41 Success schools, serving 14,000 children. The waiting list has nearly doubled in the past three years to about 17,000, and over the next decade the plan is to expand to 100 schools serving 50,000 children, which would rival the size of the Atlanta and Boston public-school districts. … When I asked Ms. Moskowitz this week what’s changed in terms of her challenges over the past decade, she pointed to the political environment. Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a reform-oriented independent who served from 2002 to 2013, robust school choice was not only supported but encouraged. By contrast, his successor, progressive Democrat Bill de Blasio, has aligned himself with organized labor—which opposes charter schools because most are exempt from the collective-bargaining agreements that allow teachers unions to exert so much control over public education. “The current mayor has succeeded in slowing the growth to its lowest level since its inception,” said Ms. Moskowitz. “On average, during the [second half] of the Bloomberg administration, total enrollment growth was around 26%. In the last two years that has slowed considerably to about 11%.” The citywide charter school waiting list today is about 45,000 students. …

Related:

New York Charts Bold Course for Schools
Source: Mara Gay, Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2014

New York City charter schools have scored a major victory under a deal brokered in Albany that could make it one of the most charter-friendly cities in the country. Under the agreement, hammered out by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature over the weekend, New York City would be forced to find rent-free space for charter schools in government buildings. If there is no room in public school buildings, the city would be required to pay up to $40 million for the charter to rent private space.

De Blasio sued by own allies to overturn charter school openings
Source: Carl Campanile, NY Post, March 26, 2014

Top allies sued Mayor de Blasio Wednesday to overturn his decision to open 14 charter schools in city-owned buildings this fall. The chief plaintiffs include Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and eight other city council members, The Post has learned.

Deputy mayor: charter expansion could lead to ‘privatized’ school system
Source: Yoav Gonen, Aaron Short and Carl Campanile, New York Post, March 11, 2014

A massive expansion of charter schools could lead to the “privatization” of public education, Mayor de Blasio’s top deputy warned Monday — even as the mayor himself was saying charters have a role in the system. First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris told an audience at a Crain’s breakfast forum that charters couldn’t be “the long-term solution” for the city’s educational network because 95 percent of students here attend regular public schools…. Shorris’ tough comments came just hours before the mayor met privately with charter operators and said the publicly-funded but privately-run schools have a role to play. Gov. Cuomo — who has emerged as a key defender of charters — brushed off Shorris’ warning about the charters….

Editorial: Why is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio undermining charter schools?
Source: Editorial Board, Washington Post, March 10, 2014

During his successful campaign for New York mayor, Bill de Blasio (D) made clear that he had a different, less favorable view of public charter schools than did his predecessor. But even charter advocates who feared the worst wouldn’t have predicted that Mr. de Blasio would kick a high-achieving charter school out of its building, leaving hundreds of parents wondering where their children will attend classes next fall. Success Academy Harlem 4, whose students boast some of the highest math scores in New York state, faces an uncertain fate in light of Mr. de Blasio’s decision to deny it free space. The school, in operation since 2008, is part of the Success Academy chain, which serves minority and low-income children with impressive results. The chain’s chief executive, Eva Moskowitz, is a political rival of the mayor; during the campaign, he said of her: “She has to stop being tolerated, enabled, supported.” Mr. de Blasio also rescinded the co-locations of two planned Success schools that had been approved by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. …

&YM_MID=1453812&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_10_b">Cuomo reiterates support for charter schools
Source: Kimberlee Payton-Jones, American School and University, March 5, 2014

…Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-NY) came out in support of charter schools at an Albany-rally yesterday. The governor addressed more than 11,000 charter school supporters amid frigid temperatures. …. Cuomo came out in support of charter schools in the wake of New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration withdrawal of agreements that would have allowed three charter schools to operate in public school buildings…..

Idea of Charging Rent for New York Charters Hits Wrinkle State Could Decrease Funding to City for Facilities
Source: Lisa Fleisher, Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio might want to think twice before he figures how much to charge charter schools for rent: If he charges too much, it could cost the city money. State education officials are studying how Mr. de Blasio’s pledge to charge rent to charters that operate in city buildings could affect the amount of funding the city receives for facilities. New York City gets more than $1 billion a year from the state to defray the cost of school facilities—partially paying for leases, renovations, purchases and new construction. The state Education Department distributes the building aid through formulas established in state law.State officials said they could consider pulling back some of that funding if it appears that the city is turning a profit on the space used by charter schools—recouping more than its share of expenses. It could be complicated, though, to figure out exactly how that would be measured, state officials said. ….

Editorial: Bill de Blasio & an anti-charter lawsuit
Source: Post Editorial Board, New York Post, January 5, 2014

Even before Mayor de Blasio took office Wednesday, he was being yanked to his left on a key issue: charter schools. And he had a wise response: Not so fast. The pressure came, ironically, from the very City Council member he’s backing for speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and from newly installed Public Advocate Letitia James, among others. The two joined a lawsuit filed last month to stop the city from placing schools alongside other schools in some 40 buildings where extra space exists….

For New York City’s Charter Schools, a Lesson on Paying Rent
Source: Winnie Hu, New York Times, December 1, 2013

…. Charter schools, which receive public funds but are independently operated, have thrived in New York in the last dozen years — in no small measure because the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has provided them with space and other resources. Currently, 114 of the city’s 183 charter schools are housed rent-free in public school buildings, according to the Education Department. … Mr. de Blasio has contended that charter schools have been favored at the expense of traditional public schools, which serve the vast majority of students, and that locating charter and traditional schools in the same buildings has resulted in overcrowding. Mr. de Blasio has proposed that “well-resourced charter schools” should pay rent on a sliding scale. Some charter schools and their advocates have countered that charging rents could lead to teacher layoffs, program cuts and increased class sizes. City charter schools receive $13,527 per pupil from the city’s Education Department, and additional local, state or federal funds based on student needs, such as special education. Some charter schools also receive money through private donations as well as through state and federal grants, including a federal grant that defrays start-up costs. …

City’s Charter Schools Fear Having de Blasio for a Landlord
Source: Javier C. Hernández, New York Times, October 8, 2013

Charter schools in New York City have flourished over the past decade, attracting donations from Wall Street, praise from leaders in business and government, and free real estate from the city. …. The leading candidate to succeed Mr. Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, is a no-bones-about-it critic of charter schools who rose to prominence in part by berating the mayor’s educational agenda. By contrast, the Republican candidate, Joseph J. Lhota, is a fierce defender of charter schools…. The Bloomberg administration is concerned enough about their future in the city that it is racing in its final months to place two dozen more of them into public school buildings. The board that approves school space plans will meet twice this month, an unusual step. …

Money for charter schools balloons during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure
Source: Ben Chapman and Corinne Lestch, New York Daily News, July 14, 2013

Charter schools received billions of dollars during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure — while teachers, school aides, principals and classrooms got a smaller share of a substantially larger school budget pie, according to documents obtained by the Daily News. Money for charter schools exploded from about $32 million to about $659 million over a decade as Bloomberg increased their number from 17 when he took office in 2002 to 125 in 2010-11, the most recent year for which spending data are available. Funding for charter schools is set by the state. Now there are a whopping 159 charter schools in the city — and two dozen more will open in the fall. More than 100,000 students — about 10% of all city students — are expected to be enrolled when all of the schools reach capacity…. Charter schools outperform public schools on many measures, but only 6% of their students are English-language learners, and just 9% of their students have special needs — much lower than the citywide averages….

Invasion Of The Charter Schools
Source: Anya Kamenetz, Village Voice, Vol. 58 no. 5, January 30, 2013

Former City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, with Bloomberg’s union-busting blessing, is pushing her Success Academy edu-franchise into Brooklyn. The natives aren’t buying….Success Academy Williamsburg opened this past fall. Citizens of the World was approved in December to open in the fall of 2013—unless a lawsuit by local parents, who have taken their campaign from the hui to City Hall, manages to stop it. In other words, a full-on cage match is brewing near the shops and bars of Bedford Avenue. But it’s more than just #firstworldproblems—it’s a struggle over the urban soul and a microcosm of the national education debate. Each side claims to be concerned only with what’s best for all children, implying that others are acting out of spite, greed, or bad faith. But the basic principle in play here is simple: Who should decide the educational needs of a neighborhood?…

… Charter elementary schools like those in Moskowitz’s chain, Success, save money by “co-locating” in existing school buildings; they see the depopulated hallways in a place like Williamsburg as an empty niche waiting to be exploited. Already, the 28 elementary schools in the neighborhood include five charters. …

Whether they are not-for-profit or for-profit, and they can be either, charter chains are businesslike—and they compete aggressively for students. Success Academy spent a reported $900,000 on marketing last year, including $250,000 to the lobbying, PR, and crisis-management firm SKD Knickerbocker. The chain also bought space for a set of large ads in the Bedford Avenue L subway stop….

…For Mayor Bloomberg, as well as his former schools chancellor, Joel Klein (now an executive at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., where he oversees Amplify, the company’s “education unit”), and his current one, Dennis Walcott, the logic is business logic. The three men are some of the most prominent boosters of charter schools nationwide, and when they talk about education, they speak the language of choice, investment, and free markets. …
See also:
Charter School Studies
Source: Stanford University, CREDO, 2013