Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Charters vs. Public Schools

Here’s part of an email I got from Leonie at Class Size Matters:

Yesterday, I was at the rally in front of PS 154 in Harlem, where parents and teachers are trying to save their school from losing its cluster rooms and increasing class sizes as a result of a proposed new charter school that Tweed intends to put inside its building. If this happens, class sizes at PS 154 in Harlem will rise to 25 from 20 children per class in grades K-3 and to 32 in 4th and 5th grade, according to the sources at the school.

Each new charter school, because it replicates administrative, specialty and cluster spaces, takes up considerably more space per student within a building. And according to the Independent Budget Office, it costs at least three times as much to educate a student at a new charter school compared to an existing public school.

Already, the Department of Education has been withdrawing its support from class size reduction, by offering fewer classes in each grade up through 7th over the last three years. Last year, in District 5, where PS 154 is located, class sizes rose dramatically in K-3 grades, from 18.4 students per class to 19.7, according to data from the Independent Budget Office…

Of the 22 schools that share space with charter schools, in every borough of the city except for Staten Island, only two did not experience a significant increase in class size in at least one grade, and usually, many grades after charter schools were placed within their buildings.

She goes on to give various examples. I was not aware of any of this. It’s hard to see how charters can justify paying triple per student what my public school kids get. Perhaps if they’d receive that sort of funding, there’d be no need for charters.

As good as some charters may be, there’s no excuse for short-changing the overwhelming majority of NYC’s kids.

Update: Joe Williams has a completely different take on this info right here. We report, you decide.

No, really.
blog comments powered by Disqus