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Under Threat, Charter Advocates Plan Show of Force With Rally

Monday, October 07, 2013 - 02:36 PM

Supporters of Success Academy Charter Schools (Chelsia Rose Marcius)

Thousands of advocates and students plan to rally in defense of charter schools with a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday morning. After a decade of significant expansion under Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- there were 17 charter schools when Bloomberg took office and now there are 183 -- charter schools face the imminent prospect of a new mayor that’s less friendly to charter growth.

“I think the message is pretty simple: We’re public school families and we demand a great, free public education in the city,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, executive director of the group Families for Excellent schools, which is helping to organize the event.

Kittredge said the rally was aimed at “all of our city officials” to demonstrate how important charter schools are to city residents. It's the mayoral election in particular that makes charter advocates nervous.

Bill de Blasio, the Democratic mayoral candidate and current frontrunner, has put forth ideas that alarm the charter sector, including charging rent to some networks for space in public school buildings. 

Joe Lhota, the Republican mayoral candidate, has said he would double the number of charter schools. 

Eva Moskowitz, who runs the Success Academy network of charter schools, said she was “very worried” about the future of charter schools in New York City.

“There is a lot at risk here, and it’s not an exaggeration,” she said in a recent interview with WNYC. “I can’t look into the hearts and minds of elected officials and know what they’re actually going to do in practice. But, I think it would be naive not to take these very explicit anti-charter threats seriously.”

Moskowitz encouraged Success parents to attend Tuesday's rally with their children. She delayed the start of school so that students could participate, which her critics quickly condemned. (Moskowitz, for her part, defended the move, saying attendance at the rally was not required and that her students receive extra class time year-round.)

Kittredge estimates that about 10,000 charter school parents and students from 70 schools will attend the rally -- not an insignificant showing for a sector that still accounts for a small minority of New York City public school students. There are currently 70,000 students enrolled in New York City charter schools.

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Comments [3]

racquel from brooklyn

It's those people who are not affected, will affect those who will be affected. Where does their kids go to school, not bedstuy .
Will all public schools be charge rent or only those that are not. Control by uft.
some people want charge some charters high rent
and others low rent,its called discriminatin.

Oct. 10 2013 09:33 PM
Brooklyn parent from Brooklyn

Here's a quote from a Success Academy parent from an email that has been making the rounds on the internet:

"As Eva said in her advocacy meeting the only excuse parents have for not attending protests or rallies is if someone (that someone being a woman because men are not excused) is within two hours of giving birth. She also noted that there would be at least 10 “events” a year and we are all required to attend."

Parents have been slowly speaking out that they aren't given a choice not to attend these marches and rallies. These are considered mandatory school events for attendance.

Oct. 08 2013 09:07 AM
We Are Public Schools from Brooklyn, NY

This is a march to say that regardless of where a child lives in this city or how much their parents earn, they deserve a great public school. For too long, families in poor neighborhoods had no decent options. The system forced thousands upon thousands of children to attend schools that failed them. Today great public charter schools offer an an alternative. They offer a rigorous education accessible to anyone in the city. Students are not admitted based on what block their parents can afford to live on, but rather through random lotteries. In fact, often if students are living below the poverty line, on food stamps or in public housing, they are at increased chances of being accepted to high performing charter schools. These schools are significantly outpacing their peer schools and parents are very supportive and we all will be marching tomorrow for the support of the next mayor.

Oct. 07 2013 09:07 PM

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