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Queens charter schools outscore best public schools’

By Jeremy Walsh

Queens charter school students once again bested their public school counterparts in state standardized testing and even held their own against charter students from other boroughs.

Queens has four charter schools, the fewest of any borough except Staten Island, which has none. Brooklyn has 19, the Bronx 16 and Manhattan 21.

The Queens schools are Merrick Academy in Jamaica, Our World Neighborhood Charter School in Astoria, Peninsula Preparatory Academy in Far Rockaway, and Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights.Overall, 86.9 percent of Queens charter school students met or exceeded grade-level standards in math compared with 77.5 percent of other public school students in Queens districts with charter schools, 74.3 percent of students citywide and 80.7 percent of students statewide.

In English Language Arts, 75 percent of Queens charter school students met or exceeded grade-level standards compared with 61.4 percent of other public school students in Queens districts with charter schools, 57.6 percent of students citywide and 68.5 percent of students statewide.

“The outstanding gains made by students in charter schools this year show what a great choice these schools are providing for thousands of families across the city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a prepared statement.

The Queens schools also did favorably compared to the average performance of the other boroughs. In math, 86.7 percent of Queens charter students met or exceeded the standards. They were topped by Brooklyn, with 88.9 percent, but outperformed the Bronx at 86.2 percent and Manhattan at 83.3 percent.

In English, 73.7 percent of Queens charter students met or exceeded state standards, the best of any borough. Brooklyn was second with 71.1 percent, the Bronx third with 65.6 percent and Manhattan a close fourth with 65.5 percent.

State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), who was instrumental in getting the Merrick Academy established, praised the test results and said he would fight to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in the borough.

“There is no question that more charter schools are needed to create competition for public schools to do better,” he said. “Our children have been left behind for far too long.”

The city's 60 charter schools serve more than 18,000 students. They admit students by open lottery and are located in communities of greatest need.

About 62 percent of the city's public charter school students are black, compared with 32 percent citywide. Some 30 percent are Hispanic compared to 39 percent citywide. This fall 18 new public charter schools will open in the city, but none in Queens.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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