Monday, August 25, 2008

More questions than answers about charter schools on the NY Times blog

See the extended commentary and answers from James D. Merriman IV, the chief executive of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence on the NY Times blog.

Merriman goes on at some length about how disadvantaged charter schools are in terms of funding and support. I posted the following question:

Question: Mr. Merriman says that charter schools are seriously hampered by receiving less funding, but according to DOE budget documents they received more than $11,000 per student his past year, and are projected to receive $12,500 per student next.

Meanwhile, the school that my child attends receives about $7400 per student. Mr. Merriman also argues that charter schools don’t receive any funding for facilities — but why should they need to when the administration gives them prime real estate in our existing public school buildings, at the same time taking away valuable classroom and cluster spaces from the students at the existing public school?

Moreover, as mentioned above, charter schools have the most valuable advantage of all — the ability to cap enrollment and class size at any level they want.

My question is this: who pays for custodial services, lunch, and transportation services at charter schools that share buildings with traditional public schools? Does the DOE charge the charter schools extra for this, or is this also provided free of charge?

My question went unanswered.

Also, the following statement made by Mr. Merriman on the NY Times blog was inaccurate:

What the chancellor has not done is move to close neighborhood zoned elementary schools and replace then with a charter school. If the neighborhood zoned elementary school is shut down, the chancellor has replaced that school with another zoned school—and everyone who was in the zone who was attending the old school has the right to attend the new one.”

To the contrary, the Chancellor closed down PS 101 in East Harlem – a neighborhood school that was in good standing with the state and federal government and that had just received a “proficient” rating on its quality review.

At the time, I found it very suspicious – and suspected that the real motivation for this action was so that its building could be given over to a charter school. Reporters asked DOE whether this would occur, but the administration denied this was in their plans.

Nevertheless, a few months later, it was announced that a charter school, another branch of the Harlem Success Academy, would open in the building of the former PS 101 at 141 East 111 St.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am often amazed at the lack of support for what charter schools are doing to improve education for NYC youth. I teach at a charter school, and I work hard for the students that I serve. We all do (teachers and administrators at my school). We share a facility with two other schools, but as a charter school, we are the only one without air conditioning. We are all public schools...serving the educational needs of students. In a city like ours (expensive and limited commercial real estate options), I think we have to expect facility-support from DOE. I have seen how charter schools are impacting the overall school culture for all public schools...even in my building. I hope that all of the questions about charter schools are answered because charter schools are making the difference for NYC youth.