The Panel for Education Policy should be empowered to axe charter school renewals

COVID19 changed many things in education except the continued renewal of charter schools’ licenses.  Things need to change. The time to do it is now. We call upon the  Chancellor, NYS Board of Regents and the State University of New York immediately  to deny  charter schools’ renewals  based on recommendations entailed.

We also ask that the  Panel for Educational Policy  (PEP)  is  empowered  to deny renewals  for co located charter schools. Charter schools’ numbers  skyrocketed under  mayoral control with Bloomberg and Chancellors Walcott and Farina. Mayoral control was extended  until June 2022. In New York, charter schools receive a portion of their funding from the state and from the local school boards of the districts where they operate. School boards must send a “proportional share” of their per-pupil funding to those charter schools. Recently NYC has paid rental costs for some of these charter operators. With all these amenities provided to charters they do not operate fairly. The charter networks discriminate against students with disabilities and multilingual learners.  

The Movement of Rank and File Educators opposes charter school license renewals. Why are charters allowed to operate? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. COVID19 is a new variable and educators , activists, students, and parents of public school children should rethink schools.

  Social distancing is a new norm. We follow the science and it should also be followed in our public schools and should be the norms.  Public school spaces will not be the same. Likewise co located schools should not and will not be the same. As a result we call upon the PEP to vote no on all charter renewals immediately and use our recommendations, moving forward:

1. Fiscal responsibility – Small schools should be merged back into larger schools to save the city and state hundreds of millions of dollars. There should be one principal per building. Eliminate the huge number of assistant principals and use this cost effective method to offset the expected budget shortfall.

2. Charter schools that are not in co-located schools should be allowed to continue. 

3 Eliminate co-located charter schools and utilize the instructional footprint to accommodate students with disabilities in D75 settings. Students in ICT classes in schools need to social distance

4.  Promote social distancing by lowering class sizes in all public schools in the Fall of 2020.

5.   Since charter networks were allowed to operate based on  State legislative decisions. It is time for the NYS Legislature to reconsider the operation of charter networks . We recommend that no more than 5schools per network . In addition no charter  network should have more than 5 schools in any  borough.

This is time to correct the wrongs. The DOE was able to provide mobile devices for 400,000 students. The DOE should also provide health justice for students with spaces for social distancing come September.  The PEP should recommend to Chancellor Carranza that he merges the small schools into larger schools and vote no on charter school renewals.

Correction: in the previously published article it stated that PEP should Vote No. They do not currently have the power to vote on renewals.The article now reads PEP should be empowered to vote No.

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