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Press Release: Queens Public School Parents Call On Legislature to Lift Charter Cap

Borough with Worst Ratio of Charter Schools Per Child Demands Greater School Choice

(Queens, New York) – Queens public school parents are joining together to call on the New York State Legislature to lift the cap on charter schools. The parents, volunteer members of StudentsFirstNY’s grassroots organizing effort, demanded greater school choice for Queens, the borough with the fewest charter schools per student.

 

Of the five boroughs, Queens has the worst ratio of students to charter schools

Students Per Charter School

  1. Manhattan: 3,812
  2. Brooklyn: 3,900
  3. Bronx: 4,053
  4. Staten Island: 16,301
  5. Queens: 21,703

Currently, there are ten schools in Queens that are considered failing by the state of New York. That affects more than 16,000 students each year. Students in those schools have:

  • 7.3% and 8.6% average proficiency rates in math and English Language Arts at the elementary/middle schools.
  • 48% average graduation rate at the high schools.
  • 12% average college- and career-readiness rate.  

Despite the high need, Queens has disproportionately fewer charters than the other NYC boroughs:

Bronx: 59

Brooklyn: 87

Manhattan: 46

Queens: 14

Staten Island: 4

So, without enough quality schools, parents need more choices. Despite the fact that 210 charter schools opened or are scheduled to open throughout New York City, Queens has only 14 charter schools.  Wait lists at charter schools are growing every year and creating greater competition for admission.  The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released findings that New York City has the longest wait lists in the nation, with 163,000 children on wait lists in 2015 alone.

With so many children in Queens trapped in failing and underperforming schools, parents decried the lack of quality school choices.

"The public school system is failing far too many children here in Queens,” said Nina Doster, a community organizer for StudentsFirstNY. “Parents in the borough need to have more choices for where to send their children to school. State lawmakers need to step up to the plate and make more options available to underserved neighborhoods in Queens.” 

“Our community depends on public schools to open the doors of opportunity for our children, but when our only option is to send our kids to the nearest failing school, those doors are slammed shut," said Crystal Lee-McJunkin, a parent of a child who attends a public middle school in Jamaica, Queens. "State lawmakers need to lift the charter cap to provide better options for the children who need it most.”

“Queens desperately needs quality schools to send our kids,” said parent and Community Activist Gary Frazier. “Many of us who live in underserved communities throughout the borough are already at a disadvantage, and we need options like quality charter schools to reduce the obstacles already standing in the way of our kids. We demand Albany lift the charter cap now!”

“Queens district schools are coming up short when it comes to offering a quality education for our children,“ said Au Hogan, a parent and grandparent of several public school students and the Tenant Association President for Baisley Houses.  “At the end of the day, this is about fairness and equity in education. Parents who live in Queens deserve to have as many choices as parents in other boroughs.”

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