Charter school (New York)

Charter school (New York)

This article is mainly about characteristics specific to those charter schools that are in New York State.



A charter school may be authorized by the State University of New York[1] (through its Charter Schools Institute),[2] New York State's Education Department's Board of Regents,[3] or the New York City Department of Education (through the Chancellor's office and the Deputy Executive Director).[4]

Governing state law

State laws govern the establishing and supervision of charter schools. The New York Charter Schools Act of 1998, as amended, is codified as Education Law, §§ 2850–2857.[5][6] Regulations appear in New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).

Any locality that has authorization to establish charter schools may have local law governing the process.

The 1998 State statutory provisions passed when then-Governor George Pataki included them in legislation giving otherwise-opposed legislators a pay raise and limiting the number of charters.[7]

Schools lists

A list of charter schools is available from the Charter Schools Institute.[8] A list of charter and public noncharter schools is available from the New York State Education Department.[9]

For charter schools in Wikipedia, see the category page for New York charter schools.

Growth of schools

In New York City, the numbers have grown from 17 charter schools serving about 3,200 students in 2002 to 78 charter schools serving about 24,000 students in 2008.[10]

Statewide cap on number of schools

A legislative proposal to increase the cap on the number of charter schools that may be open in the state is under consideration.[11] It has some opposition.[12]


The New York City Department of Education surveys parents and teachers, and, for 6th grade and higher, students, in every school every year about qualities of the school. Comparisons are possible where response rates are reasonably high. Results may indicate some of the strengths and weaknesses of a school. NYC School Survey results are published.[13]

Controversy and criticism

Emulation and choice through competition

New York City School Chancellor Joel I. Klein argues that charters don't substitute for public noncharters but do demonstrate improvements that noncharters might emulate and, by letting parents choose schools, break the noncharter monopoly.[7]

Draining of resources from public noncharter schools

Arguments include that innovations in the charter schools should be provided in the noncharter public schools, smaller class sizes require more financing and public noncharters need that finance, and benefits should be provided to the many students in noncharter public schools rather than to just the few attending charters, especially since students who are rejected by charters must be accepted by the public schools, so more support should go to public noncharter schools.[14]

Management being for profit

Whether charter schools should be either run by for-profit businesses or supported with for-profit management support organizations has been challenged.[15] One side argues that money is going to pay profit[15] (rather than to educate children) and therefore that for-profit managements should be banned.[15] The other side argues that a for-profit management firm is assisting a school in producing academic results,[16] the school can focus on academics and accountability,[16] the firm can raise major funds,[16] fewer than 12% of the charter schools are run for profit,[15] and, in the case of charter authorizer State University of New York, the charter agreement is with the school's board of trustees and not with a management company.[15] Relevantly, if the authorizer is the New York City Department of Education, the school's board of trustees has not-for-profit status.[4]

Competition for space in public noncharter schools

There has been criticism that charter schools are often given space in public noncharter schools,[17] constraining the latter.[18][14] A counterargument is that, at least in New York City, the schools losing space are generally not educating well and the space is going to charter schools that generally do better at educating students.[17] A counterargument to that is that the two sets of schools are not educating the same students, leaving students in the noncharter schools with fewer resources for their needs.[18][14] A counterargument to that is that noncharter students generally may apply to other schools to get access to better education.[19] A counterargument to that is that space is limited in many schools.[20]

Closing public noncharters & accommodating charters

A court ruled on March 26, 2010, that the City of New York government could not phase out or close certain public high schools currently.[21][22] The number of schools subject to the court's decision is 19 and that includes 15 high schools.[23] As a consequence, charter schools may not find space in those schools to move into at this time.[22]

The court was the New York State Supreme Court, specifically the court for New York County, i.e., Manhattan; the decision was by Justice Joan B. Lobis.[21]

The order not to close the schools was granted by the court because the City had not complied with the recently-amended state law on Mayoral control of the public schools, requiring "meaningful community involvement" in the decision to close a school.[21][22] "The judge wrote that the [educational] impact statement for ["Paul"] Robeson ["High School in Brooklyn"], for example, did not say where young mothers . . . could find similar programs [in the city] ["like one devised for mothers and pregnant teenagers . . . that offers day care and teaches parenting skills"]."[24] A 20th school, a vocational high school, was slated for closing but the City had opted not to close it because of community feedback favoring preserving its automotive program; the court cited that as an example of what might result from proper procedure for community involvement.[21] While the impact statements were provided online, respondents didn't deny that they were not distributed to parents and others as "hard copies . . . . Although some parents [and others] . . . may have computer and internet [sic] access, certainly not all do."[21] Impact statements were often boilerplate in disclosing information about numbers of seats but not about specialized programs, some participants in the process were scripted when they should instead have been "part of the process of structuring those meetings", and question-and-answer sessions were not allowed at all the meetings where they should have been.[21]

The ruling did not mean, in general, that failing schools couldn't be closed or that these 19 schools were not failing, but that the process applied for deciding on these closures at this time had not been complied with, and that compliance must be "strict".[21][22] This decision does not prevent the City from closing the schools in the future if the proper procedure is followed.[21]

Among the petitioners or official supporters of the lawsuit were the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Alliance for Quality Education, elected political office-holders Scott M. Stringer, Eric Adams, Bill Perkins, Hakeem Jeffries, Alan Maisel, Robert Jackson, Charles Barron, Erik Martin Dilan, Mark Welprin, and Lewis A. Fidler, several parents and school officials, and a teacher.[21] Co-plaintiff Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer[21][23] and UFT president Michael Mulgrew supported the court's decision.[23][22][25]

The New York City Schools Chancellor nonetheless intends to close the schools, although probably not as soon.[22][25]

(In the state's court system, the Supreme Court is not the highest in the state, that being the state's Court of Appeals, with the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division coming in between.)

The City has "promised an appeal"[22] and "will appeal immediately."[23]

The Department of Education hopes to find other space for the charter schools (and new public schools) that would have moved into the public schools had they closed. "The New York City Charter School Center said in a statement that it will work with the city 'to assure that charter school students, teachers and parents aren't impacted by this turn of events.'"[25]

Admission lottery

When qualified applicants outnumber available capacity, a lottery is required, leaving some families disappointed when admission is denied despite otherwise qualifying.[20] A film about the admission lottery at the Harlem Success Academy, possibly typical of many admission lotteries, has been shown as The Lottery.[26][27] It was inspired by a 2008 lottery.[27]

CEO compensation

Some chief executive officers of charter schools have been criticized for accepting pay that is substantially more than that of the New York City Schools Chancellor or the former State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor[28][29] for running many more schools or colleges, respectively, with many more students. The New York City Chancellor shared management and support with approximately 62,000 nonteaching personnel in Fiscal Year 2009–2010.[30] SUNY's Chancellor shared responsibility with 87,362 employees, including 54,162 non-faculty and 283 in system administration (estimates), as of Nov., 2009.[31] The compensation has also been compared with that of first-year law firm associates and supported with the argument from political liberals that teachers and school leaders should be paid well for valuable and challenging work.[32]

Nepotism in contracts and hiring

A journalistic investigation uncovered several charter schools awarding contracts or a teaching position to relatives of school leaders.[33]

Union representation

Most charter schools in the state do not offer union representation of teachers.[34] Some organizing of charter school staff has led to unionization, although members at one school, the KIPP AMP Academy Charter School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y., have begun seeking an end to their union representation.[35]

Supervision failures with disciplinary violence

At one school, New York City's Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District (SCI) found the school failed to adequately document incidents involving student violence and staff responses that included violence called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI).[36] "'If everybody knows about a restraint and nobody reports it,' he [Commissioner Richard Condon] said, 'then it's not unfair to conclude they were covering it up.'"[37] "The school serves some of the city's lowest-performing and troubled students who can be tough to handle."[37]

List of NYC Charter Schools

    • La Cima Elementary Charter School [1]
    • Staten Island Community Charter School [2]


  1. ^ Charter Schools (SUNY), as accessed May 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Charter Schools Institute website, as accessed May 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Charter School Office home page, as accessed May 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Charter School Creation, as accessed May 22, 2010.
  5. ^ New York Consolidated Laws Service (LexisNexis, hardbound) (including pocket part for use in 2010) (CLS) (Educ L). A similar collection of statutes is published under the short name McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated. The former set carries a certificate that it may be read into evidence in court; the latter probably also qualifies. Another set, which has no such certificate apparent but is online and free, is at (click "EDN", then "Article 56"), as accessed Mar. 24, 2010.
  6. ^ These sections are also known collectively as Education Law, Article 56.
  7. ^ a b The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand, by Steven Brill (Single Page online URL), in The New York Times, in the Magazine, Sunday, May 23, 2010, p. MM32 (print version may differ), as accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
  8. ^ As accessed Mar. 24, 2010.
  9. ^ As accessed May 6, 2010 (organization determined from the home page, as accessed the same day).
  10. ^ 18 New Charter Schools to Open This Fall, in The Culvert Chronicles (possibly vol. 3 & no. 33), Aug. 28–Sep. 3, 2008, p. 7, [§] Education, in ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch.
  11. ^ State Senate Approves Bill to Increase Charter Schools, by Jennifer Medina, in N.Y. Times, N.Y. / Region section, May 3, 2010, as accessed May 6, 2010. A version was printed on paper ((N.Y. ed. May 4, 2010), p. A28).
  12. ^ In Harlem, Epicenter for Charter Schools, a Senator Wars Against Them, by Jennifer Medina, in N.Y. Times, N.Y. / Region section, Mar. 6, 2010, as accessed May 6, 2010. A version was printed on paper ((N.Y. ed. Mar. 7, 2010), p. A22).]
  13. ^ As accessed May 15, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c Charter Schools and the Opposition, by Maryam Abdul-Aleem, in N.Y. Amsterdam News (possibly vol. 100 & no. 41), Oct. 8–14, 2009, p. 32, [§] Education Today, in ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch (database) (Full Text - PDF), <>, as accessed Feb. 16, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d e Senate Panel Hears Debate Over Charters, by Marcy L. Velte, in The (Albany, N.Y.) Legislative Gazette, Apr. 26, 2010, as accessed May 21, 2010.
  16. ^ a b c How For-Profits Help Charters, by Kay Madati & Omar Wasow, in N.Y. Post (opinion op-ed column), May 20, 2010, as accessed May 22, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Eva Moskowitz Has Special Access to Schools Chancellor Klein - and Support Others Can Only Dream of, by Juan Gonzalez, in N.Y. Daily News, Feb. 25, 2010, as accessed Mar. 7, 2010.
  18. ^ a b Protests Continue For P.S. 123, by Maryam Abdul-Aleem, in N.Y. Amsterdam News (possibly vol. 100 & no. 28), Jul. 9–15, 2009, p. 32, [§] Career Opportunities, in ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch (database) (Full Text - PDF), <>, as accessed Feb. 16, 2010.
  19. ^ N.Y. state statutes online (click "EDN", then "Article 65", then "Part 1", then § "3204"), as accessed Apr. 7, 2010 (see subdivision 1, 1st sentence) (this source is provided by the state but may not be usable in court as prima facie evidence of the laws).
  20. ^ a b Locals Ask State For More Charter Schools, by Tanangachi Mfuni, in N.Y. Amsterdam News (possibly vol. 97 & no. 14), Mar. 30–Apr. 5, 2006, p. 3, in ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch (database) (Full Text - PDF), <>, as accessed Feb. 16, 2010.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mulgrew v. Board of Education, Sup.Ct.N.Y.Co., 101352/10 or 101352/2010, Mar. 26, 2010, decision & opinion, in N.Y. Law Journal, vol. 243, no. 59, Mar. 30, 2010, pp. 49–50, [§] Decisions in the News, & news story in State Judge Halts Closure of 19 City High Schools, by Jeff Storey, in N.Y. Law Journal, vol. 243, no. 58, Mar. 29, 2010, p. [1] [§] News in Brief ( (ct. is Supreme Court, N.Y. County, viz., a state court for the county; defendant is listed as "Board . . .", not "Department . . .", in these publications).
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Judge Blocks Closing of 19 New York City Schools, by Sharon Otterman (with Nate Schweber), in N.Y. Times, Mar. 26, 2010, as accessed Apr. 1, 2010 (a version printed Mar. 27, 2010, p. A1).
  23. ^ a b c d Court Blocks NYC School Closings, by WNYC Newsroom, on WNYC radio, New York, N.Y., Mar. 26, 2010, as accessed Apr. 1, 2010 (or to drill down to news story).
  24. ^ Judge Blocks Closing of 19 New York City Schools, by Sharon Otterman (with Nate Schweber), in N.Y. Times, op. cit., with bracketed quotation "educational" and bracketed "in the city" both from Mulgrew v. Board of Education, decision & opinion, in N.Y. Law Journal, op. cit.
  25. ^ a b c Manhattan Supreme Court Saved 19 Schools, Education Department Plays Musical Chairs with New Schools, by Rachel Monahan, in N.Y. Daily News, Mar. 28, 2010, as accessed Apr. 1, 2010.
  26. ^ The Lottery Documentary Shows Education Is a Sure Bet ("The Lottery" in single quotation marks in original title of article) (Opinion), by Errol Louis, in N.Y. Daily News, Apr. 29, 2010, as accessed May 1, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Charter Kids Star: True Story of Lottery Hits Tribeca Fest, by Yoav Gonen (educ. rptr.) (add'l rptg. by Lachlan Cartwright), in N.Y. Post, Apr. 28, 2010, as accessed May 1, 2010.
  28. ^ Charter School Executives Earning Big Bucks Education [sic (probably should be "Educating") City's Poorer Students, by Meredith Kolodner & Rachel Monahan, in N.Y. Daily News, not clearly dated online but prob. Dec. 13, 2009], as accessed Mar. 10, 2010.
  29. ^ Former City Council Member Eva Moskowitz Makin' a Bundle at Nonprofit Schools, by Juan Gonzalez, Feb. 27, 2009, as accessed Feb. 28, 2010.
  30. ^ Preliminary Mayor's Management Report (N.Y.: City of N.Y. Feb., 2010) (also titled The Mayor's Management Report: Preliminary Fiscal 2010), portion for Dep't of Educ., pp. 15 & 20, as accessed Mar. 10, 2010 (138,822 personnel (p. 20) minus "approximately 77,000 teachers" (p. 15)) (also as full report, as accessed Mar. 24, 2010).
  31. ^ SUNY Fast Facts 2009, as accessed Mar. 9, 2010.
  32. ^ Charter Crusader: Eva Moskowitz, by Charlotte Eichna, exec. editor, in (East Side (Manhattan), New York, N.Y.) Our Town (vol. & no. not found), Apr. 1, 2010, pp. [1] & 10–11, [§] Q&A (title inside is Eva Moskowitz, Charter School Champion) ( &
  33. ^ Nepotism, Conflict of Interest Find a Home at Charter Schools, by Meredith Kolodner, Rachel Monahan, & Greg B. Smith, in N.Y. Daily News, Apr. 22, 2010, as accessed Apr. 22, 2010.
  34. ^ Charter School Chief Keeps a Hand in Politics, by Elissa Gootman, in N.Y. Times, Nov. 3 or 4, 2008, as accessed Jan. 10, 2010.
  35. ^ Charter School Teachers Back Off From Union, by Jennifer Medina, in City Room Blog, section In the Schools, in N.Y. Times, Apr. 27, 2010, as accessed May 6, 2010.
  36. ^ Letter (untitled document) from Regina A. Loughran, First Deputy Commissioner, to Joseph P. Merlino and Philip Pallone, Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees, Opportunity Charter School, New York, N.Y., dated May 19, 2010, as accessed May 21, 2010.
  37. ^ a b Manhattan's Opportunity Charter School Accused of Using Disciplinary Goon Squad to Beat Problem Kids, by Kevin Deutsch & Meredith Kolodner, in N.Y. Daily News, May 19, 2010, as accessed May 20, 2010.

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