Op-Ed: More Space for Charter Schools Would Have Huge Impact for Students

More Space for Charter Schools Would Have Huge Impact for Students

By Griceliz Badillo

Watching my fifth grader go back to school this year made me think about just how much she’s grown since starting kindergarten five years ago. The shy little girl I dropped off on the first day of school back then has blossomed into a confident student faster than I ever could have imagined, eager to take on new projects and explore different activities.

I know her success so far is a direct result of the culture and learning environment at Bronx Charter School for the Arts, where teachers and staff have become family to us over the last several years. That’s why I was thrilled to hear they wanted to set up a middle school for their students. Unfortunately, Mayor de Blasio isn’t letting this happen.

In order to expand, Bronx Charter School for the Arts has requested some additional space from the City. And our school is not alone – many other high performing charters want to expand to reach more children that are currently on waiting lists to get into their schools.

But recent news reports have showed that the mayor is denying these requests despite there being more than enough room at public schools to accommodate them.

It’s not totally clear why the mayor doesn’t want to give more space to successful charters like Bronx Charter School for the Arts. What is clear, however, is that by preventing them from expanding he is taking away life changing opportunities from children that I have experienced firsthand.

Not only is my daughter excelling in traditional subjects, but she has also fallen in love with music and visual arts thanks to the excellent programs at her school. And I have grown accustomed to the resources and workshops the school provides for parents to ensure we can keep teaching our kids even after they get home.

I have never had a bad experience or a complaint about the school, and it would be a dream come true if my daughter were able to continue on to middle school with the same educational family that has already taught her so much in five short years.

But if my daughters’ school doesn’t get the space it needs to expand, we’ll have to begin looking for a new school for her to attend next year. And while there are other good options in the Bronx, it is a shame that we would have to take a chance on an unfamiliar one when we have already had such an amazing experience with Bronx Charter School for the Arts.

I hope the mayor will quickly realize that blocking unused space from charter schools hurts students like my daughter. By allowing charters like Bronx Charter School for the Arts to expand, he can help thousands more students reach their full potential.

Ms. Badillo is the mother of a student at Bronx Charter School for the Arts

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