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Charters must work with NYC public schools

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Now that a city panel has voted against a charter school's effort to co-locate in a Brooklyn public school, both sides must come together to find a site that will work.

That effort must happen quickly, because the new charter is scheduled to open in September 2016. But there is time to do this right and to find a space that makes sense.

The city's Panel for Educational Policy voted last week against Success Academy's effort to co-locate in Midwood's Andries Hudde Middle School, going against Mayor Bill de Blasio's public support of the co-location.

Charter schools are critical to the educational success of the city's 1.1 million schoolchildren. Many charter schools are proven success stories, and as long as there are struggling or failing public schools, city families must have as many options as possible.

But this is also an opportunity for Success Academy to do things differently. Too often, opposition to a Success Academy proposal is built on assumptions and reputation and comes from parents and students of the existing public school where a charter hopes to co-locate. Success representatives can do more to reach out early to the schools where they hope to co-locate. Creating goodwill and positive relationships with the principal, staff and parents will make adding charters and finding locations far easier.

Beyond that, city charter schools must increase their own transparency. If they want to dispel negativity about how students are chosen or how money is spent, the best way is by opening the books and welcoming audits.

It's good to know the panel appears to have a voice of its own and isn't always at the beck and call of de Blasio. But when panel members vote against a proposal the mayor likes, they need to articulate clear, reasoned explanations. It shouldn't be just because they don't like charters.

City education leaders should base their decisions on what is best for all students. Charter schools must be part of the equation. Choose the location for the newest Success Academy school with care -- and more students will have access to the education they deserve.


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