by CJ Macklin
This week, more than 17,000 New York City public charter school supporters walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in an act of solidarity. These children, parents, teachers and community members had only one thing to say to city leaders: charter schools are public schools and need your support.
The charter community has come under attack in recent days. Rather than embrace charters, some have decided to play politics with the movement’s future. It runs contrary to what the public wants.
A recent poll by The New York Times and Siena College found that the vast majority of likely New York City voters support more public charter schools. This was true for every ethnic, religious, age and income group, and among supporters of both major party mayoral candidates. This is a clear message that New Yorkers want more good schools, and they see charters as a means to do so.
The charter movement is diverse and full of people with different thoughts, different backgrounds and different points-of-view. But the common goal is to give children great schools that prepare them for success in life.
That is what moved those 17,000 people, most of them from Harlem, the Bronx and Central Brooklyn. It is why there are 70,000 students enrolled in NYC charters, with 50,000 more on waiting lists.
Turf and institutional politics should not get in the way of helping students. The parents of this city are fed up with the politics of indifference, and refuse to wait for the status quo controlling traditional public schools to get better tomorrow. They deserve options today.
The families of New York City have spoken; will leaders listen?