Success Parents and AM Crespo Challenge De Blasio’s “Equity”
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 18, 2018**
Anne Michaud, 914-712-8693
Ann Powell, 646-894-6407
75 SUCCESS ACADEMY PARENTS DEMONSTRATE AT CITY HALL TO DEMAND EQUITY AND SPACE FOR NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS
De Blasio Administration Offers Weak Response to Tens of Thousands of NYC Families on Waiting List for Public Charter School Seats
NEW YORK, NY— In response to Mayor de Blasio’s lack of action, 75 Success Academy parents rallied on the steps of City Hall this morning to demand that the mayor deliver on his frequent—but unfulfilled—promise to bring equity and excellence to education.
This administration has a weak record on approving space for new charter schools to open or expand to serve upper grades. De Blasio has allowed roughly one-third as many charter school co-locations in his five years, compared to the previous five years. From 2011 to 2014, roughly 8,100 charter school seats were added, compared to 4,900 in the past three years.
“Why would you play politics with education, when the results are clear as day?” asked Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo of the South Bronx, who has two children attending a Success Academy. “Mr. Mayor, during the last budget cycle, you made a commitment not to have this antagonistic relationship. If we’re really about educational outcomes, this is working. Success is working.”
Across the city, there are enough empty classrooms to site dozens of new new charter schools. An analysis by the Manhattan Institute, based on Department of Education data, show that there are 192 DOE buildings with at least 300 empty seats (see map). Some have 500, 1,000, or more seats. Most have been empty for five or more years.
Success Academy requested space for 14 new elementary schools in 2014. To date, just five sites were approved and only four are in operation; one had to be sacrificed for temporary middle school space when the city reneged on its 2014 promise to locate a middle school in District 15 for SA Cobble Hill. For the upcoming school year, 2019-20, Success Academy has requested space for new elementary schools, as well as for middle schools in Brooklyn and Queens to accommodate rising elementary school students next year.
Meanwhile, nearly 80,000 New York City families applied to a public charter school last year, making it clear that they want an alternative to traditional public schools for their children; 53,000 did not get a seat, ending up on waiting lists, including 14,000 hoping for a seat in a Success Academy. The previous year, 73,000 families applied for a charter school spot. Demand is growing—but the City administration’s sense of urgency is not.
“Parents and families are far too often shut out of good schools, and yet the mayor who promotes equity does not believe in it for charter parents. That is discrimination,” said Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy founder and CEO. “We object, and we simply won’t let him get away with talking a big equity game and then shutting out the very parents who need educational options the most.”
Dedicated parents who have seen the difference Success Academy has made for their own children spoke out for their neighbors who want the same opportunity.
“I can’t imagine the agony of the parents who are still on the waiting list,” said Susana Taveras, mother of two boys at Success Academy schools in Harlem. “I’m angry when I hear Chancellor Carranza say, ‘we have to take care of our own house first.’ I say, don’t teach me how to raise my child; support me in my choice.”
Jacqueline Shaulis, a parent from Sunnyside, Queens, said her experience with the local district schools had been inadequate. “We wanted a school that would nurture my son Elijah and bring out his full potential,” she said. “Frankly, I don’t understand why Mayor de Blasio would block Success from opening more schools in New York City—when it’s clear we desperately need more high-quality schools.”
Parents recognize that Success Academy schools deliver equity and excellence. There are no performance gaps among different races or income groups at Success Academy. The network of 47 schools is now equivalent to the seventh-largest district in New York State by enrollment, and its students are ranked No. 1 in student achievement.
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 17,000 students, primarily low-income children of color in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are children of color, 16% are children with disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,700 applications for 3,288 open seats this year.