Parents and lawmakers meet to increase the ‘charter cap’ for New York City schools

A class at a Success Academy Charter School. (Photo via of Wikicommons)

Parents from the Success Academy charter schools advocated to increase the so-called charter cap following a week-long series of meetings with state lawmakers.

The charter cap is the statutory limit of the number of charter schools that can open in New York State. Currently, that number is 460 schools with a smaller sub-cap for New York City.

During the meetings starting Feb. 22, over 400 parents participated in demanding that they have more say and autonomy when it comes to deciding where and how their children should attend school. During the meeting, parents cited a number of reasons why an increase on the charter cap would benefit communities. 

“Ultimately, my job is to help my son become a super human being. To succeed, I recruited the best teammates to help me educate him: Success Academy,” said Francisco Bayron, father of a scholar at Success Academy Midtown West. “I really hope one day all parents are able to make these choices on behalf of their kids.”

According to the parents there is an overwhelming demand for charter school education with approximately 81,000 families applying for only 33,000 available seats in NYC charter schools for the 2019-20 school year, leaving 48,000 children on waitlists. Another reason being high quality education choices for under-served communities, most often communities of color.

There has been a precedent of charter cap raises in New York State in the past – first in 2007, then 2010 and most recently again in 2015. Nationally, 16 states have eliminated or raised charter school caps.

Parents expressed their gratitude for being able to speak candidly about education with the state lawmakers, indicating that the week-long virtual conferences were of a priority with legislators. Another increase in charter schools caps would mean that even more families in New York communities would be afforded the chance to decide whether or not charters are for them.

“I was really happy to be able to facilitate a meeting with State Assemblymember Al Taylor and support Success Academy parents as they advocated for lifting the charter cap.” said Jamel Hodges, father of a student at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts–Manhattan. “I’m not only part of SA’s school safety team, but I’m also an SA parent, so I know very well what a great education SA provides.”