An open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña:
I am proud of the work we have begun to do in order to establish a fair and equitable education system for our city’s children. The recent decision to withdraw nine space-sharing, co-located charter schools is a step in the right direction.
But it does not go far enough.
As the city councilman of District 27, I have seen firsthand the discriminatory effects charter schools have on communities such as mine in southeast Queens. Those families who were not lucky enough to win this game of educational roulette are forced to send their children to underfunded public schools, institutions that receive hundreds of dollars less in funding per child compared to charters.
Every child deserves a quality education and all schools deserve the resources to ensure proper delivery of that education. By allowing privately run charters to siphon off public funds and receive in-kind contributions through free rent, utilities and janitorial services, we are denying the vast majority of our children the essential resources they need to thrive in the 21st century.
Instead, public students are crammed into buildings that have become multi-school dwellings while funds are being allocated to the pockets of for-profit charter administrators. I oppose this corporatization of public schools. Our children are not for sale.
With regard to the issue of charter schools, the lack of educational access for high-risk and disabled students, the marginalization of parents and the lack of security provided to teachers are alarming. In particular, with respect to co-locations, these arrangements force students from different schools to share overworked facilities, pit students in “turf war” rivalries against each other and have failed to improve individualized classroom instruction.
I write to you to express this sentiment not only on my behalf, but on behalf of my constituents, who overwhelmingly oppose co-locations and charter schools. For this reason, I am asking you to withdraw the proposals for a public co-location at Q490 Campus Magnet and charter co-location at Q59.
I. Daneek Miller