Behind the Headline: Major Charter School Chain To Lose Space Under New De Blasio Plan

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Major Charter School Chain To Lose Space Under New De Blasio Plan
2/27/14 | Huffington Post

Behind the Headline
Will Mayor de Blasio Turn Back the School Reform Clock?
Spring 2014 | Education Next

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will not allow three charter schools that are part of Success Academy to use space in public school buildings in New York City, an arrangement which had been approved under the Bloomberg administration. The high-performing Success Academy chain was founded by Eva Moskowitz, whom de Blasio has frequently criticized.

In an article in the Spring 2014 issue of Ed Next, Peter Meyer analyzed de Blasio’s statements about education on the campaign trail and considered the impact of policies that would prevent charter schools from sharing space with traditional public schools or that would charge rent to charter schools in New York.

Stopping colocation or charging rent for space would be “absolutely catastrophic,” Joel Klein told me. “It’s not just bad for the charters, but for the children…. Charter schools are public in every meaningful way…. The public schools don’t pay rent, the charter schools, which are serving the same kids, shouldn’t pay rent.”

“Colocations are a fiscal necessity for New York’s charters,” according to education professor and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Marcus Winters, “since they get no capital funds from the state.”

Meyer also considered what it would mean for New York City’s schoolchildren if de Blasio made changes to the city’s approach to charter schools.

A 2009 study by economist Caroline Hoxby found that students in the city’s charter schools made substantially better academic progress than they would have in a traditional public school. Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that NYC charter students gained an additional one month of learning per year in reading over their district-school peers; in math the advantage was five months of additional learning each year.

“These are very large effects,” concludes the Brookings report.

The empirical research, says Winters, “leaves no doubt that the average student who attends a Gotham charter is much better off because of it.” In a separate 2009 study, Winters also found that “the more students a public school lost to charters,
the better its remaining students performed—probably because the school now faced competition from charters for enrollment.”

All in all, this paints a devastatingly clear picture of de Blasio’s wrong turn on one of the city’s most important education reforms.

And so it was that the state’s highest-ranking education official, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents Merryl Tisch, chided de Blasio for his views. “Charter schools are public schools,” Tisch told the Daily News. “What do they do with their money? Extra-long school day, extra-long school year, science labs. They wire the classrooms. They offer art, music, enriched programs. They are giving a service to the kids in New York City.”

Finally, she said bluntly, “To make New York City not hospitable to the charter school movement is to hurt efforts at fixing the school system.”

-Education Next

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