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Mayor beats his own deadline to open 100 charter schools

As he gears up to run for a third term, Mayor Bloomberg announced today that he has made good on a 2005 campaign promise to double the number of charter schools in the city.

Bloomberg said in October 2005 that he would bring the number of charter schools in the city to 100 by the end of his second term this year. At the time, there were fewer than 50 charters open in the city, and state law allowed only 100 charters altogether. The law changed in 2007 and since then, the state, city Department of Education, and SUNY system have granted charters at breakneck speed. This fall, 100 charter schools will be open in the city.

Bloomberg’s vigorous lobbying influenced the legislature’s decision two years ago to permit more charters, and today, his support for the movement won him a “Champion for Charters” award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, an organization that promotes the schools. The award ceremony took place at Brooklyn Charter School, a Bedford-Stuyvesant elementary school that was the first DOE-authorized charter school.

The number of charter schools operating in the city grew from 17 when Bloomberg first took office in 2002 to 78 this school year. This fall, there will be anywhere from 99 to 104 charters open, depending on the results of Bloomberg’s attempt to convert some shrinking Catholic schools to charters and on whether the State Education Department approves the first charter school for Staten Island. (That school would serve children with special needs.) A couple of low-performing charter schools have also closed. On average, charter schools outperform other city public schools on state tests and on the city’s progress reports.

The city’s full press release about Bloomberg’s award, and the rise in the number of charter schools, is after the jump. Also in the press release: a list of 25 charter schools that will open either in the fall or in 2010.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CHANCELLOR KLEIN ANNOUNCE ACHIEVEMENT OF MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE CREATION OF 100 CHARTER SCHOOLS Authorization of 25 New Charter Schools Will Allow City to Pass its Goal of 100 Charters Mayor Bloomberg Accepts Champion for Charters Award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that with 25 newly authorized charter schools, the total number of charter schools operating in New York City will surpass 100. Today, 78 charter schools serve 24,000 students across the City, and an additional 30,000 students are on charter school waiting lists. When Mayor Bloomberg was elected, there were only 17 charter schools in New York City. In 2005, he committed to doubling the number of charters from 50 to 100. The Mayor and Chancellor were joined at the Brooklyn Charter School by New York City Charter Schools Center Chief Executive Officer James Merriman, and Brooklyn Charter School founder Omigbade Escayg, as well as educators, parents, and other charter schools supporters. The Mayor was also presented with a Champion for Charters award by National Alliance for Public Charter Schools president Nelson Smith. Past recipients of this award include Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. New York City’s charter schools and their students are succeeding—so it’s no surprise that parents are demanding more seats in charters, said Mayor Bloomberg. With the support of charter school families, educators, and others, we were able to convince State Legislators in Albany to raise the cap limiting the number of charter schools in New York City. Now, more than 100 charter schools are authorized to operate in the City, and that means even greater opportunities for students throughout the five boroughs. Charter school students’ achievements are proof that all students can succeed given the right opportunity, said Chancellor Klein. I am thrilled that these additional charter schools will enable even more families to choose the rigorous education that these schools provide. I am pleased to call Mayor Bloomberg a champion for charters because of his forward-thinking leadership, and his work to provide parents and children with the high-quality education options they deserve, said National Alliance for Public Charter Schools president Nelson Smith. Improving public education is often politically difficult, but Mayor Bloomberg has continually done the right thing for children by advocating for charter school growth in New York City. Last year, students in New York City charter schools outperformed students in other public schools around the City. More than 84 percent of charter school students met or exceeded grade-level standards in math, compared to 74 percent of students citywide. In English Language Arts, 67 percent of charter school students met or exceeded grade-level standards, compared to 58 percent of students citywide. Similarly, charter schools received higher marks on the City’s progress reports, especially at the middle-school level, where 69 percent of charter middle schools received an A, compared to 30 percent of middle schools citywide. Overall, half of the City’s 42 charter schools receiving progress report grades earned an A, compared to 38 percent of all elementary and middle schools citywide. KIPP Infinity, a charter middle school in Harlem, earned an A and received a score of 106 points, making it the top performer of the 1,043 elementary, middle, and K-8 schools that received progress report grades for their performance during the 2007-08 school year. In April 2007, New York State lawmakers raised the cap limiting the number of charter schools. The new law allows for the creation of an additional 100 charter schools in New York State, 50 of which are reserved for schools in New York City. Since then, 18 charter schools have opened in New York City, and an additional 25 have been approved to open. Of the 25 newly approved charters, 21 are planning to enroll their first students in September 2009. The remaining schools plan to open in September 2010. In addition, the State Education Department is expected to vote in March on an additional charter school, the John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School, which is proposed to open in Staten Island. Mayor Bloomberg also announced earlier this week that he and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will explore turning four Brooklyn and Queens Catholic schools slated for closure into charter schools by fall 2009. Charter schools are public schools governed by not-for-profit boards of trustees. They are subject to New York State educational standards, and can be closed if student performance or operational goals are not met. Charter schools admit students by lottery, with preference given to children who live in the community school district where the school is located. About 62 percent of the City’s public charter school students are black compared to 32 percent for the city; 30 percent are Hispanic compared to 39 percent for the city. More than 78 percent of charter school students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, compared to 73 percent for the city. The 25 newly approved charter schools are:

  1. Academic Leadership Charter School (Manhattan)
  2. Achievement First North Crown Heights (Brooklyn)
  3. Believe Northside Charter High School (Brooklyn)
  4. Believe Southside Charter High School (Brooklyn)
  5. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (Brooklyn)
  6. Brooklyn Scholars Charter School (Brooklyn)
  7. Brownsville Ascend Charter School (Brooklyn)
  8. Carl C. Icahn Charter School Nine (Bronx)
  9. Coney Island Preparatory Charter School (Brooklyn)
  10. Crown Heights Collegiate Charter School (Brooklyn)
  11. East New York Collegiate Charter School (Brooklyn)
  12. Excellence Charter School for Girls (Brooklyn)
  13. Explore Charter School (Brooklyn)
  14. Fahari Academy Charter School (Brooklyn)
  15. Flatbush Collegiate Charter School (Brooklyn)
  16. Girls Preparatory Charter School of East Harlem (Manhattan)
  17. Growing Up Green Charter School (Queens)
  18. Hebrew Language Academy Charter School (Brooklyn)
  19. Leadership Preparatory Brownsville Charter School (Brooklyn)
  20. Leadership Preparatory East New York Charter School (Brooklyn)
  21. Leadership Preparatory Flatbush Charter School (Brooklyn)
  22. Summit Academy Charter School (Brooklyn)
  23. The Equality Charter School (Bronx)
  24. The Equity Project Charter School (Manhattan)
  25. The Ethical Community Charter School (Bronx)