Raising the Charter Cap

They're rallying to raise the cap on charter schools...in New York City.

For immediate release

Contact: Marty Lipp, 212-534-0700 or 917-774-8159

Community Leaders, Parents and Educators Demand:

"LIFT CAP ON CHARTER SCHOOLS NOW!"

March 27th, 2006 -- Harlem Children's Zone was joined on the steps of City
Hall today by educational and community leaders, parents and elected
officials to urge New York State to lift the cap on charter schools now.

The overwhelming majority of children served by public charter schools in
New York are African-American and Latino and come from economically
disadvantaged homes.  By any objective measure, these schools are succeeding
at higher levels than the traditional public schools most of these children
would otherwise attend.  Now that the charter school cap is exhausted,
thousands upon thousands of the city's neediest children will be denied the
education they are demanding - attendance in a quality public charter
school.

With the overwhelming need for more charter schools, any delay in lifting
the cap must be interpreted in only one way: pressure to maintain the status
quo blocking expanded opportunity for kids who need it most.

"This is simply wrong.  It is unconscionable to delay the expansion of
opportunity to these children - especially when so many families in New York
have so much educational opportunity," said Geoffrey Canada, the event
organizer and Harlem Children's Zone President and CEO, "For the sake of our
kids, the State must lift the charter school cap now.  Our children need to
be given more chances to succeed, and that's what charter schools are all
about.  Our children deserve no less."

Charter school facts:
*    87% of charter school students are African-American or Latino.
*    75% of charter school students are low-income.
*    Charter school students outscore peers at conventional public schools in
their districts on the English Language Arts and Math tests in fourth and
eighth grade.
*    This year, there are three times as many student applicants as available
seats at New York City charter schools.
*    More than 25 groups have already submitted applications to the New York
City Department of Education to open new charter schools in 2007.

Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., is a not-for-profit agency that offers
education, social service and community-building programs in Central Harlem.
Mr. Canada has been the CEO and President of HCZ since 1990. Recently, he
was named co-chair of Mayor Bloomberg's task force on poverty. In September
2004 the agency formed the HCZ Promise Academy Charter School, which will
eventually run from kindergarten to 12th grade, serving 1300 students. In
September 2005, it opened HCZ Promise Academy 2.

"If the city water system were failing and children were dying of thirst,"
said Mr. Canada, "Would the State limit the number of private relief
organizations allowed to save our children? Of course not - and getting a
good education can literally save a poor child's life.

"Each time the Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools have
held an admission lottery," continued Mr. Canada, "I have had parents crying
and pleading with me to help their children who didn't get in. It's
absolutely heart-breaking and, worse, it absolutely doesn't need to happen."

Filed under: The World Outside CPS

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