Charter schools are independently-operated public schools accountable for advancing student achievement.
New York City’s 267 charter schools are independent of the New York City Department of Education, but if they don’t meet certain student achievement standards, they can be closed. This combination of freedom and accountability allows charter teachers to adapt their classrooms based on their students’ needs while pushing for high academic achievement.
There are currently 138,613 charter students in New York City. This population makes up 13% of New York City’s public school students. 79% of these students are economically disadvantaged students. (Numbers are based on preliminary enrollment for the 2020-21 school year.)
New York City’s charter schools have become a popular option for many students, especially from minority and economically disadvantaged families. Charter schools offer students opportunities for academic success that unfortunately cannot be said for some of the city’s public schools.
We’ve included a list of charter school benefits below to help you and your family consider if a charter school is the right fit for your student!
According to statistics from New York state exams in 2019, 63% of charter students in grades three through eight passed the state math exam and 57% of charter students were proficient in English Language Arts.
New York’s charter students outperformed their peers from traditional public schools: 46% of traditional public school students passed the state math exam and 47% of these students were proficient in English Language Arts.
NYC Charters Do Not Succeed at the Expense of District Schools
A common myth is that as New York’s charter schools succeed, the city’s traditional public schools fail as a result.
A 2018 study by the Manhattan Institute concluded that “competition from New York City charter schools has either no effect, or a positive effect,” on the city’s traditional public schools.
In fact, district schools have improved significantly as charter schools have spread throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Funding for district schools has also increased as the student population at charter schools has gone up over the years.
Charter Schools are Specialized, with No Tuition Costs
Charter teachers adapt their classrooms and teaching methods to the current needs of their students. This freedom in the curriculum, teaching style, school missions and policies resembles that of private schools, enabling charter schools to provide the very best approach to academics that fits their students.
Though teachers have flexibility, charter schools are held accountable for levels of high academic achievement. If charter institutions underperform, they can be closed.
Charter Schools Have Ample Funding
$16,123 is spent per pupil at New York’s charter schools (as per most recent NYSED Public School Data). Though this is less than the average funding per pupil in traditional district schools, charter schools and teachers clearly make the most out of their budget.
This funding by not-for-profit Boards of Trustees means that parents of charter students don’t have to spend money out of their own pockets to ensure their child receives a great education!
Charter School’s Don’t Pick Their Students
New York City’s charter schools admit students through a lottery system; they cannot select their students. This process gives students from all backgrounds and education levels an equal opportunity to attend and achieve academic success at charter schools.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, charter schools across the five boroughs immediately transitioned to remote learning that adapted to the students in each classrooms’ needs.
75% of New York’s charter schools had created a remote learning procedure before the March 2020 lockdown. Charter students only had to wait an average of three days to begin remote learning after in-person learning was closed.
Both charter students and teachers had the tools to continue learning and teaching from home. 80% of New York charter schools provided students with devices for remote learning before schools were closed and 98% of New York’s charter school teachers had the technology to conduct remote instruction.
Charter schools have been able to keep students accountable and maintain a high level of learning despite COVID-19 and its ramifications on education. 85% of New York’s charter schools continued to introduce new learning content to students through the pandemic and charter schools were three times more likely to take attendance during remote classes compared to traditional schools.
Charter schools also expanded non-academic programs such as social-emotional counseling and family outreach during the pandemic. 75% of charter teachers increased their office hours during remote learning and 91% of charter teachers increased their time spent on communication with families during the pandemic.