Governor Hochul gave her 2023 State of the State Address on Tuesday, January 10th. While she touched on various matters that affect New York, she did not address charter schools at all. Charter schools were not mentioned in Hochul’s speech or in her policy document. This oversight has been widely criticized by parents, activists, and politicians.
“Hochul is throwing New York City children under the bus. She is putting the interests of the teachers’ union over the future of students,” said Mona Davids, founder of the NYC Parents Union. “The demand for charter schools among parents and lifting the cap is clear. The consequences of not raising the cap are more New York City families are going to move to the suburbs or out of state to get a better education,” she said. Davids pointed out the fact that Hochul was seemingly making decisions in line with the teachers’ union, which opposes the increase of charter schools.
When Governor Hochul was on the campaign trail, she promised to alter the charter school cap, allowing more institutions to open. Former Governor of New York George Pataki expressed his disappointment at Hochul seemingly turning back on her promise to remove the cap that prevented the expansion of charter schools. Pataki himself saw the importance of charter schools. “It’s very disappointing. I hoped that Governor Hochul meant what she said when backed lifting the cap on charter schools,” Pataki told The Post on Wednesday.
Pataki continued, “The experiment is over. Charter schools work! Charter schools have provided opportunities to mostly low-income, minority students who were not being educated by the broader public school system.”
Support for Charter Schools
Pataki and the governors who came after him all supported the growth of charter schools. Former Governors Andrew Cuomo and David Paterson both advocated for charter schools, albeit in different ways. Paterson stood for their expansion and was supported at that time by former President Barack Obama. Cuomo stood for charter schools when the De Blasio Administration sought to stop or limit charter schools from using space in public school buildings. The former governor passed a law that would necessitate the city to provide charter schools with free space in city-run school buildings or pay their rent in private buildings.
The head of NYC Charter School Center, James Merriman, said he was hoping Governor Hochul would fulfill her promises. “Governor Hochul has been clear in her support to lift the arbitrary cap on public charter schools. We look forward to continuing to work with her administration to ensure that schools are funded fairly and that more great schools are allowed to open in New York City,” Merriman said.
There are 275 charter schools in New York City. These schools enroll 142,500 students. The desire for parents to send their children to charter schools has grown as there are several proposals for new schools and an overwhelming number of students on waiting lists. The need for charter schools has grown but the cap prevents that growth. LittleAfrica News previously reported on the lowering numbers of enrollment in traditional public schools, partially because of charter schools.