#NYCNeedsMoreCharters: 1000+ Public School Parents, Students and Teachers Unite with Elected Officials Demanding Education Equity In New York City

Press Releases

March 7, 2023

March 7, 2023

Contact: Michael Nitzky, mnitzky@mercuryllc.com, 347-526-1057

(New York City) More than one thousand public school parents, students and teachers gathered near City Hall Park calling for better education options for their children. They traveled from across New York City joining city and state lawmakers who support raising the cap on public charter schools and improving education equity in New York City. 

recent poll from DFER NY shows 64% of New York City parents support raising the arbitrary cap on public charter schools. Currently, state law prevents new public charter schools from opening in New York City, but Governor Hochul is calling for removing the regional cap on charters. 

Year after year, public charter schools improve results for students across New York City and put their students on the path to college and successful careers. Parents know this and that’s why enrollment increased at public charter schools and 15% of all public school students in NYC attend charter schools. Of the 141,000 charter school students, more than 80% are considered economically disadvantaged. Families from historically underserved communities send their children to charter schools because they want a better future for their kids and it starts with attending a high quality school, with leaders and teachers of color. 

“My son is an 11th-grade charter student. Thanks to his hard work, and his teachers’ creativity and dedication, he’s excelling in school,” said Harlem public charter parent Kathryn Marrow. “But all across this city, families are stuck in schools that don’t work for their kids. It isn’t fair. And it has to stop now. Raise the Cap!”

“I might not have discovered my career without my charter school,” said MESA public charter high school graduate Cynthia Estevez. “Now, I want to make sure more students have the same opportunities I had. That’s why I’m calling on the State Legislature to support Governor Hochul and raise the charter cap.”

“I am amazed by the improvement I’ve seen since my son arrived at his charter school. I feel lucky every day he is enrolled there,” said Bronx public charter parent Arlene Rosado. “But it shouldn’t be about luck. Every parent deserves the same opportunities I had. That’s why the State Legislature should join Governor Hochul in lifting the charter cap.”

“I’ve been around New York City schools for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen district schools and I’ve seen charter schools. And I’ll tell you what I’ve learned: a great school system needs both,” said Brooklyn public charter grandparent Anyta Brown. “Albany should give every parent here, and every parent across the city, the choice they deserve. They know what’s best – and I know they’ll make the right decision for their child.”

“For too long policy makers and education officials have ignored the negative impact of vast racial equity gaps in public schools, across both charters and district, from a lack of Black and Brown teachers to a dearth of Black and Brown charter founders. The READ Act provides the Governor and state legislators an opportunity to make meaningful progress to right these wrongs. Representation matters—the data says so, and now as you hear from so many of us, the community, the people say so as well,” Rafiq Kalam Id-Din II, Founder & Managing Partner of Ember Charter Schools

“We have a proven education model that helps Bronx students thrive both in and out of the classroom – all we’re asking for is the opportunity to reach more kids, but the charter cap continues to stand in the way,” said Denise Alexander, Executive Director of The Bronx Charter School for Children. “The solution is simple – let’s lift the cap, revive the “zombie charters”, and work together to improve outcomes for all New York City Children. 

“While KIPP is not looking to apply for new charters right now, we know that it’s critical for new operators – particularly leaders of color – to have the opportunity to open new, innovative schools in the communities that need it most.  Today, we’re standing together to send a clear message – we need more great schools in our communities. We need to lift the cap!,” said Alicia Johnson, President KIPP NYC.

“Parents in my district constantly raise the issue of finding a good community school for their child to attend in their community. Public charter schools provide that opportunity; that’s why I support raising the cap. We need to give Brooklyn families access to more high-quality education,” said Brooklyn Assembly Member Brian Cunningham.

“As a proud charter parent in our legislature, I’m working hard to bring parent choice to the families I serve in the Bronx. That starts by listening to the New Yorkers I stood with today,” said Bronx Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. “Lifting the charter cap will give parents the choices they deserve for their children’s future. It’s the right decision for our borough and our state, and I look forward to making the case to my fellow legislators this session.”

“Parents across New York City deserve to have a choice when it comes to enrolling their child in school. That includes everything from yeshivas to parochial schools and public charter schools. We need to empower parents and give them better options,” said Manhattan Assembly Member Al Taylor.

“Governor Hochul laid an important foundation and now it is time for state legislative leaders to also listen to parents. Time and time again, charter schools have improved academic outcomes for children living in high-need communities. New York must improve education equity in communities of color and that starts with giving the green light to open more charter schools to meet the needs of parents,” said DFER NY Executive Director Jacquelyn Martell.

“New York City parents are fired up and ready to go,” said Crystal McQueen-Taylor, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY. “Parents have been completely ignored and denied in the conversation about charter schools, and today they will be heard. Public charter schools have given Black and brown parents the opportunity to choose the best public education option for their children, and that opportunity should be available for every parent who wants it. And as a charter parent myself, I’m proud to stand alongside other parents who are standing up for their neighbors who deserve the same access to a great public education.”

“Families know what’s best for their children and should be encouraged to find the school that best meets their families’ needs.  NYCSA stands in full support of parents who want to exercise their right to choose the best school for their child.  Charter schools serve children well and are a great public school option. Removing the limit on public charter schools means more great public school options are available for students,” said Yomika Bennett, Executive Director of New York Charter Schools Association.

“I’ve spent years working to empower Latina girls in the Bronx to strive for success, and I’ve dreamed of taking that same passion and applying it to open a charter school right here in the community – but I can’t unless we lift the cap,” said Claudia Espinosa, founder of L.O.V.E. Mentoring. “This isn’t about politics – it’s about breaking down barriers and ensuring that families in our community have the freedom to choose the education that’s best for them.”