Charter Schools

New York voters overwhelmingly oppose the expansion of charter schools and instead want elected officials to focus on programs that strengthen local public schools, according to a poll from the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers, conducted by Hart Research Associates.

When asked to rate the importance of seven policies for improving education, the poll found that only 33% percent say charter schools are a high priority, with 81% responding that the statement “Charter schools in New York have been found to discriminate against students with disabilities” makes them feel less favorable toward charter schools. (Granted, a leading question.)

Charter schools, which are privately operated but receive substantial amounts of public money, have been in the hot seat since being established in the 1990s. In part, this is due to the belief by some that charter schools come at the expense of traditional district schools and lack the proper resources for students with disabilities. Additionally, critics say that privatization gives nonpublic schools the right to discriminate and operate without public scrutiny.

The recently conducted phone survey used a representative sample of 801 registered voters in the state. It comes on the heels of Governor Kathy Hochul’s draft New York State budget, which proposes to keep the statewide cap on charters at 460 but remove the cap on charters in New York City. A quick calculation, courtesy of NYS Senator John C. Liu, explains that the city cap of 275 had been reached a few years ago. Currently, there are 357 charters operating statewide, so an additional 103 charters could be established throughout the state outside NYC, meaning the additional 103 charters would likely be established in NYC.

Read More About Charter Schools

Rights of Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools (Advocates for Children of New York)

School Choice Series: Charter Schools — Implications for Children with Disabilities (National Council on Disability, 2018)

Education for Everyone? Charter Schools and Disability (Barnard College)

School choice had a big moment in the pandemic. But is it what parents want for the long run? (The Hechinger Report)


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