New Report Shows NYC District Middle Schools in Crisis

New Report Shows NYC District Middle Schools in Crisis

Out of Nearly 400 District Middle Schools Where a Majority of Students are Children of Color, Just Five Are High-Performing — Yet Mayor de Blasio Continues to Block Growth of High Performing Charter Middle Schools

Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz and Bronx Charter School for the Arts Principal Richard Gonzalez Demand Mayor de Blasio Provide Space for Six New Public Charter Middle Schools to Open

Dozens of Parents Join Charter Leaders at City Hall Rally

Read the Report Here: http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/needles-in-a-haystack

New York, NY – On Thursday, following the release of a new report showing the depth of New York City’s failure to provide high-quality middle schools to students and communities of color, Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz and Bronx Charter School for the Arts Principal Richard Gonzalez demanded City Hall stop blocking access to public space for six high-quality public charter middle schools next year. During a rally with dozens of parents on the steps of City Hall, the two charter leaders spoke to the implications of this new study, and called on the Mayor to work with them to address this crisis by providing space for six new, high quality middle schools.

The new report found that there are only five high-performing district middle schools across the city where the majority of students are children of color. These five high-performing middle schools, where more than 75% of the student body can read or do math on grade level, enroll just 1,231 students. All five schools practice selective admissions and receive dozens of applications for every open seat, severely limiting their accessibility for city families. In contrast, there are 250 district middle schools where fewer than 25% of the student body can read or do math on grade level, which together enroll 72,043 students.

Public charter school leaders are working to increase the number of high-quality middle school options available to families of color. There are already 13 high-performing charter middle schools that enroll mostly students of color, none of which practice selective enrollment, and Success Academy and Bronx Charter School for the Arts are planning to open six new middle schools next year. These six schools will serve nearly 2,600 students at full enrollment.

Despite the clear need for more high-quality middle schools, and despite the fact that New York City’s own data shows 112 chronically underutilized buildings citywide, Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education have thus far refused to identify space for Success Academy and Bronx Charter School for the Arts’ six planned schools.

If the de Blasio administration does not identify space for these schools and release building utilization plans and other relevant documents by October 13th, charters’ open space requests will be left off of the Panel for Educational Policy meeting agenda in November. Ultimately, if space is not found for the six schools in time, 842 rising middle school students who would’ve been able to attend a charter middle school will instead be forced to attend a district middle school.

“The de Blasio administration’s refusal to give Success access to available space is pushing hundreds of our families closer and closer to crisis,” said Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy. “Taking children out of the schools they love and enrolling them instead in failing district middle schools is a heartbreaking prospect for our parents, and the Mayor must keep it from becoming a reality.”

“Students of color deserve better than the district middle school options they have today,” said Richard Gonzalez, Principal of Bronx Charter School for the Arts Middle School. “Bronx Arts and Success Academy can help fill this void in our public education system, but first we need Mayor de Blasio to do his part and allow us to expand.”

“Parents are hurting, Mayor de Blasio,” said Gertrude Fontanelle, Success Academy Bronx 4 parent. “No more bureaucracy. No more missed deadlines. Give public charter school families the space we need today.”

“My first two sons had to struggle through DOE middle schools,” said Dulia Phillip-Johnson, parent of a Success Academy Rosedale 4th grader. “I am not going to accept that for my third son.”

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