September 30, 2015

Race and Charter Schools in the Big Apple

By Meriem L. Hubbard Senior Attorney

PLF regularly files briefs in support of parents’ ability to take their children out of the public school system and send them to charter schools. Charter schools are particularly important for poor and minority children who have no choice but to attend low-performing neighborhood schools. Without choice in the lower grades, those children may never achieve academic success, attend college, or find a good job.

In New York City, parents of poor minority children want their children to attend charter schools, especially those that have proven themselves by setting a high bar for all students, holding teachers accountable, and regularly outscoring schools in wealthy suburban areas. An article in the Wall Street Journal, provocatively entitled “Where Black Lives Don’t Matter,” highlights the inequality of New York’s public school system, and discusses the refusal of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the education establishment to support charter schools in poor neighborhoods.

According to the article, a half million children–almost all of color–are being forced into failing schools. Fortunately, parents who want a better future for their children are fighting back. Families for Excellent Schools, a pro-charter organization, has sponsored television advertisements showing the cost of the existing inequality. The organization is also planning a pro-charter rally, where parents and students will march over the Brooklyn Bridge to deliver thousands of postcards to the mayor demanding an end to “separate and unequal schools.”  Will the progressives who run New York City overcome their aversion to charter schools or their allegiance to the teachers-union?  Probably not.

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