With families struggling to get their kids a good education, Albany must put raising the charter-school cap on its agenda

The state Legislature is currently underway, with Albany lawmakers saying they would delay raising the charter cap and instead focus on rent assistance for charter schools.

While this issue is important, New York City students now desperately need more charter schools.

Ignoring the issue of charter school caps is a dereliction of our duty to working class families.

As the superintendent of Icahn Charter School in the Bronx, I see the difference a quality education makes in the lives of our students, who are more than 90% black and brown.

Albany’s failure to fully embrace charter schools is wasting the potential of countless New York City students who were not lucky enough to win the charter school admissions lottery.

Icahn Charter School’s impressive track record proves that success is possible when innovative educational models are given a chance.

Our students consistently outperform their peers at schools in their local school district, the schools they would have attended had Icahn not been in the Bronx.

New York City’s charter schools have shown remarkable results compared to public district schools, the Post reports.

Icahn Charter School significantly outperforms public district schools in the Bronx.

Mr. Icahn had an English language arts proficiency rate of 84% in the 2022-23 school year, more than double that of schools in the Bronx.

When it comes to math proficiency, Icahn achieved an impressive 92%. This is 58 points above the average for Bronx-area schools.

Charters like Icahn’s are a beacon of hope for families, proving that all children can thrive academically, regardless of race, socio-economic background, or language.

However, Charter caps prevent us from extending these benefits to even more deserving children.

Albany has a statewide charter cap of 460, with only 290 charters allowed to operate in New York City.

This is far from meeting demand and accommodating the city’s growing student population.

As a result, students are placed on a waiting list and admission is determined randomly by lottery.

Only the lucky ones can attend high-performing charter schools like Icahn for free.

So far this year, 3,600 people have applied for 250 seats.

This confusion boils down to a matter of choice.

Our representatives in Albany have decided to set a low charter cap.

Year after year, Congress has refused to allow more charter schools, despite urgent calls for more high-quality schools to provide services such as extended learning that are not offered in public district schools. I did.

Parents don’t have to exhaust resources, take out loans, or work multiple jobs to provide their children with a quality education at a private school.

For most low-income families, charter schools represent the only viable alternative to low-performing public district schools.

As an educator, this pains me.

It is shameful that the Legislature allows so few children to flee failing public district schools for the opportunity to receive a quality education in charter schools.

Concerned parents can speak out and send a clear message to their legislators this Congress. Please stop getting in the way of parents who desperately want a school that will give their children a bright future.

Lawford Cunningham is the superintendent of Icahn Charter Schools.



Sign up to stay informed to breaking news