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Bill de Blasio’s fight against charter schools

by AMBER KELLY Photographer

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is quickly losing support due to his recent attack on charter schools. Charter schools are publicly funded independent schools, institutions which are separate from the public schools and where the teachers are not part of a union.

If families are unhappy with the performance of the public schools in their town or area and there is a charter school in the vicinity, then they have the opportunity to get their children enrolled in the charter school. Charter schools are very beneficial, especially in urban areas where the public schools are underperforming, as charter schools have much better performance rates.

According to the New York City Charter School Center, “charter schools are free and open to all children, regardless of their academics skills or needs.” Children get into the school on a first-come, first-serve basis. When a charter school receives more applications than seats available, a lottery system is used to randomly choose kids.

De Blasio believes charter schools are hurting public schools and the children, and while some Democrats agree with him, many from his own party, along with the Republicans, strongly disagree.

Recently, De Blasio got rid of three charter schools, all of which were a part of the Success Academy, because they were sharing a building with a public school. These charter schools and their locations had previously been approved by former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I don’t really understand why De Blasio is trying to get rid of charter schools. They seem like a good thing, especially in New York City since it seems like a lot of their public schools aren’t doing as well as they should be. I feel like charter schools give a bunch of kids the opportunity for a better education,” says senior Jessica McDonald.

According to a Sanford University study, New York City students attending a charter school gain an additional month of learning in reading compared to typical public schools, and also about five additional months of learning in math. In Harlem, students gain an additional seven months of learning in math.

While some charter schools are not visibly outperforming public schools, a majority of them are, especially in New York City. Regardless of these statistics, De Blasio is still going after charter schools.

“Hopefully the charter schools find a way to fight back. It looks like they’re helping a lot of kids, so it would be sad to see them thrown away,” says senior Kendall Marini.

Democrat de Blasio assumed the position on January 1, 2014 after winning the mayoral election. According to a Quinnipiac poll from January, De Blasio’s approval rating had been 53 percent when he first entered office, but now has plunged to 45 percent. Within a span of two months, De Blasio’s approval rating has gone down eight percent.

As of now, many are not in favor of De Blasio’s stance against charter schools. Maybe the charter schools will be able to prevail in this fight for the sake of New York City students.

Do you think charter schools are worth keeping?

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