New York City has opened 139 charter schools since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002. He’s set to leave office in 2013 but there are already another 25 charter schools planned to open for the 2012-13 school year. There can be no doubting that charter schools in the area have bloomed under his reign. However, School Chancellor Dennis Walcott has warned that the education world changes rapidly and their future would need to be guarded after Bloomberg is replaced.
Walcott told the Midtown breakfast meeting of the New York City Charter School Coalition that charter schools and traditional schools should not be “pitted against” each other, adding, “These are all our students.”
He said he believes in “the expansion of charters throughout our system, in all neighborhoods.”
“Charters shouldn’t be relegated to one class of parents or students,” he said.
New York State has recently scaled back its enthusiasm for charter schools, introducing funding changes that effectively placed a soft cap on the number of students who can be enrolled in charter schools in a district at 10%.
There have also been complaints and concerns from parents in the New York area over the rapid expansion of charter schools amid fears that they drain money from the public school system, money that the failing American state education system desperately needs to improve services and arrest the horrific decline in student attainment.
Teaching unions are traditionally opposed to charter schools, viewing them fearfully as a measure to bypass tenure and worrying that each charter school built further diminishes their own power and influence within the education system
Mayor Bloomberg however is firmly committed to education reform and making sure that children in the New York City school system have the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability.
‘We’ve opened 139 new charter schools in our city, and we’ve created more than 500 new small schools, non-charters, but ones that give parents of kids top-quality options. Parents and students both deserve that. And school choice is an important way to hold schools accountable for success because when people vote with their feet you know that it’s real and it’s pretty obvious which direction they are going.’