Charter Bill Signed by Mayor de Blasio is "Political Theater"

Jenny Sedlis // July 1, 2014

StudentsFirstNY believes in transparency and accountability for all public schools, which is why we have supported making this data public -- as it has been for some time. This legislation does not share any data that hasn't already been made publicly available -- it's just political theater for politicians looking to pander to powerful special interests. Empty political stunts are bad enough, but this bill sets up a dangerous dynamic by pitting parents against one another and diverting attention from the real problems facing public schools.

The reality is that charters do admit differently than zoned schools -- they have random lotteries open to the entire city, with a preference to a district, while zoned elementary schools pull from a very small geography. That is why when the State enacted a law requiring charters to serve comparable numbers of children qualifying for FRPL, ELL, etc. that it used a comparison to the school district, not to the co-located zone. Charters are already held accountable for meeting these enrollment targets by their state authorizers and can be shut down if they don’t, which is why the bill will accomplish nothing beyond political theater.