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schools either performed the same as or worse than students

Currently there are 82 charter schools in New York If our children are to grow up to be functional members of our
in traditional public schools… ‘If this study shows anything,
City. Eighteen more have been approved to open their doors democracy, they need to be witnesses to and participants in
it shows that we’ve got a two-to-one margin of bad charters
this fall, and there are many who are pushing for all states to democratic process. Private corporations place the survival of
to good charters,’ said Margaret E. Raymond, the director of
lift their limits on the number of charter schools that can be the corporation above the needs of their consumers. Public
the center and the study’s lead author. ‘That’s a red flag.’”1
authorized and opened. But what do these charter schools really entities are the opposite—they place the needs of those they
TRUTH: We need to consider how we measure the quality
represent? Are they the innovation and reform we need in serve as their priority.
of education in our country. President Obama and his
education as our mayor and president proclaim?
education secretary, Arne Duncan, are pushing an agenda
As we lay out below, charter schools are NOT MYTH: Charter schools serve the same student populations
that equates student performance with a test score. Our
improving education. They are, however, destabilizing, as public schools.
children are more than just numbers—they are individuals
threatening and hindering the public education of our city’s TRUTH: Charter schools serve far fewer English language
with varied learning styles, strengths and needs. Focusing
children. By privatizing and outsourcing public education, learners, students with special needs, and students who qualify
ourselves, and our children, on these tests dangerously
charter schools are dividing communities in New York City for free lunch than their public school counterparts:
oversimplifies the process of learning and does not allow us
and around the country. Read on to find out the truth. Then,
to foster the true and unique potential of our youth.
please join our fight to improve and preserve public education Data for 2007-2008 School Citywide Charter Citywide Public
for all. Access to a high quality public education is not Year2 School Average School Average
English Language Learners 4% 14% MYTH: Charter schools hire better teachers and
something that should be won in a lottery—it is a most basic
Students with Special Needs 5% 15% administrators.
human and civil right.
Students Receiving Free Lunch TRUTH: Examining 2003-04 federal data, researchers from
57% 65%
Vanderbilt University found surprising turnover rates for
MYTH: Charter schools are public schools. TRUTH: The Free Lunch “gap becomes even more glaring
teachers in charter schools. They left at a rate of 25%;
TRUTH: If something is public, it means it is open to all when you realize that charter schools are concentrated in the
public schools had a turnover rate of 14%.6 Higher turnover
members of a community. Charter schools conduct lotteries to city's poorest neighborhoods, Harlem, the South Bronx and
rates create destabilized and chaotic school environments.
select their students; they do not aim to serve all. Charter central Brooklyn, where even higher numbers of students
TRUTH: Many charter school employees are overworked,
schools educate 2% of our city’s children, yet they receive qualify for free lunch.”3 In West Harlem alone, 80% of students
underpaid, and denied the right to be part of a union. In a
superior attention and power from the mayor and chancellor. receive free lunch.4
recent New York Times article, a few charter school
Charter school families are given access to transportation TRUTH: New York City will have 100 charter schools open
employees spoke about these issues:
opportunities that public schools cannot offer. Additionally, this fall, the majority of which are concentrated in black and
“We were really proud of the scores, and still are…but the
there are estimates that charter schools receive as much as Latino neighborhoods. This is not coincidence. Our mayor and
workload…it wasn’t sustainable. You can’t put out the kind
twice the amount per student as public schools. The DOE chancellor are shirking their responsibilities to run a publically of energy we were putting out for our kids year after year.”7
refuses to release important financial information to the public controlled educational system. They are instead outsourcing the TRUTH: Many charter school administrators and principals
effectively evading the question of funding. True reforms aim public education of black and Latino students to unregulated, are new and inexperienced. Take for example Harlem
to educate and provide for all children. private corporations. In doing so, they have shown us that they Success Academy, a network of 4 charter schools in Harlem
TRUTH: According to the NY State Charter School Act of do not want and do not know how to educate our black and that serves about 800 students. This chain is run by former
1998, a charter school is defined, not as a public entity, but as Latino children. New York City desperately needs leaders who city-council member Eva Moskowitz, a woman with no
an “education corporation.” Furthermore, the law states, “a are experienced educators—they are the best equipped to background in teaching who pays herself $370,000 a year.
charter school shall be exempt from all other state and local understand and address the needs of all our city’s children. Overpaid CEO’s have contributed to the recent downfall of
laws, rules, regulations or policies governing public or private our economy—do we really expect a different result if we
schools, boards of education and school districts…”1 Do we MYTH: Charter schools produce better outcomes for their take this approach with education?
really want to outsource the education of our children to private students.
corporations who are free from regulation and oversight? TRUTH: “Looking at 2,403 charter schools in 15 states and MYTH: Charter schools act as lab sites for innovative
TRUTH: Charter schools are not governed democratically and the District of Columbia, researchers at Stanford University educational ideas and practices.
often limit the input and voice of parents, students and teachers. found that students in more than 80 percent of charter TRUTH: While the charter school movement was initially
intended to be innovative, the schools sprouting up in New OUR VISION
York City are anything but. Many are run by the same few
charter corporations (Green Dot and Uncommon Schools) and Our vision for public school reform does not include
push students through a scripted and test-driven curriculum.
TRUTH: Few charter schools aim to share information or best
practices with their public school counterparts. The notion that
privatization. We support quality public neighborhood
schools with smaller class sizes, equitable funding, union
protections, local school councils, and neighborhood
these schools will pave the way to school reform is ill founded.
We must empower public schools to experiment and innovate.
enrollment that protects and includes all children. We
support a moratorium on charters, turnarounds, Charter Schools
TRUTH: Charter schools are in the process of invading and consolidations, phase-outs, school closings and any other
privatizing public space. Around the city charter schools are form of school privatization.
taking over public school buildings and pushing public school
children out. In many cases the charter schools remain in public
spaces long after they have agreed to vacate. Why are we
Educators should be empowered to work with communities
to develop curriculum that is grounded in the lives of the New York City
allowing our public schools to be replaced and privatized? young people they teach. Each school’s curriculum should
reflect the culture, needs and lived experience of its
MYTH: Competition between schools will improve the students, critically support student identities, embrace and
educational system. recognize the value of students’ home languages, and invite
TRUTH: Any system based on competition will have winners students to engage in solving societal problems.
and losers. In the case of our educational system, the winners
and losers are our children. We need to create a system in The Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) believes in a
which everyone, especially our most needy, can excel. In a bottom-up, participatory and highly democratic process to
competitive system, one school’s success is only possible when engage schools and communities in school improvement.
another fails. Education is not a game—it is a right.
Who we are:
* The Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) to Defend Public
1 See Education is a coalition of educators, community members and
Actof1998.doc parents. We seek to educate, mobilize and organize educators,
2 Data from New York State Testing and Accountability Reporting Tool’s
parents, students and our communities against corporate and
“Accountability and Overview Reports.” government policies that serve to underfund, undermine and privatize
3 Gonzalez, Juan. “Test numbers too good to be true, hide achievement gap of our public school system. GEM advocates for the equality & quality
poor students, some veteran educators say.” of public educational services as well as the rights of school workers. Charter Schools in New York City*
08_city_test_numbers_too_good_to_be_true_hide_achievement_gap_of_poo Contact GEM:
4 See also,

NLTCJMEq7k%2Fnnff4EGJ7J5JLtfbPxFoncQFV Learn more: GEM:

For the full study, go to: •Knopp, Sarah. “Charter schools and the attack on public education.”  Grassroots Education Movement
6 See to Defend Public Education
research/2009/04/are_teachers_jumping_the_chart.html • "New York Schools Under Bloomberg and Klein." Free download
7 Dillon, Sam. “As charter schools unionize, many debate effect.” at
know/7214189 August, 2009
See Also,

Ignore this page.

* 1 New York State Charter
Schools Act of 1998.
NYSCharterSchoolsActof1998.doc 2 Data from New York State Testing
and Accountability Reporting Tool’s “Accountability and Overview
Gonzalez, Juan. “Test numbers too good to be true, hide achievement gap
of poor students, some veteran educators say.”
See also,
For the full study, go to:
research/2009/04/are_teachers_jumping_the_chart.html 7 Dillon, Sam. “As
charter schools unionize, many debate effect.”

Data from New York State Testing and Accountability
Reporting Tool’s “Accountability and Overview Reports.
Gonzalez, Juan. “Test numbers too good to be true, hide
achievement gap of poor students, some veteran educators

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