Parents, Teachers Protest Lawsuit Against Charter Schools In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Demonstrators gathered outside the state office building on 125th Street in Harlem to demand the NAACP withdraw from a lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers.

The UFT, NAACP, and other groups filed suit on May 18 in Manhattan Supreme Court to stop the closing of 22 New York City public schools and block 17 charter schools from opening or expanding.

Chanting “Don’t divide us, unite us,” over 1,000 said they were fighting for their children.

“I am here for him to have the opportunity and the option of a charter school – the opportunity and the option of a higher education,” one mother said.

“The Department of Education has not learned its lesson. We cannot continue with policies that allow inequality,” Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said.

Mulgrew added that the new suit claims the city broke its promises to give the failing schools the support needed to improve while also targeting several charter schools that share a building with public schools.

Critics argue the arrangement takes away space from public school students. Many of those charter schools are equipped with upgraded facilities and greater gym access.

“What are we teaching our children if they’re entering a building everyday and one school has brand new facilities and the other school has no new facilities,” Mulgrew said. “That’s just wrong. It’s just wrong.”

The NAACP released a statement in response, saying “We are seeking fair and equal quality education for all children of New York City.”

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the union was trying to keep students in failing schools.

Do you side with the demonstrators or the NAACP and UFT? Sound off in our comments section below…

  • miriam

    My 5 yr old is in a charter school and i can say that she is 100% exceded my expectations. her academic knowledge cant be compare to other kids who are enrolled in a public school. my niece in second grade in a public school and my daughter and her read and do howework together. Not only is she learning academically she is also leraning on a to be polite and care for others. im in LOVE with my daughter teachers and staff. We are Blessed. My daughter will be devastated if i tell her she wont attend school next year. agh.. please drop the lawsuit my daughter and i need charter schools like Harlem Success Academy. Children deserve a better FUTURE

  • Kane

    I am definitely with the demonstrators. The Teacher’s Union is against the Charter School movement only because the charter schools do not hire them. It’s time this city stopped pouring money into a defunct system run by teachers who care more about their paychecks and job security than the opportunities of the city’s children. Give parents options.

  • Glo

    The public school system has been failing scores of New York City children for decades. Parents need options NOW. We’ve waited for public school reform while generations of black and brown children go underserved. Public charter schools CAN and should exist. And in addition, public charters have better environments because they choose to allocate their funds wisely, NOT because they have more money. Charter public schools receive LESS money than traditional public schools per enrolled student… manage to improve facilities and outperform traditional pulic schools. It is not magic,it’s logic! Reproduce the model!

  • Brooklyn, NY

    I’m with the law suit, yes charter schools are doing better for inner city students but, that doesn’t exempt the public school system from offering quality education. Instead, it’s saying: if you can get out, get out and we’ll make it so you don’t want to have a public education. It’s politics that are keeping public schools from being better. This is like the middle class fleeing the cities and leaving the poor behind that created the ghetto’s that these schools are in. Now, the smartest and the kids with the most involved parents are leaving the rest behind to create yet a larger underclass. Why aren’t those demonstrators fighting for quality public education?

    • Lee Rich

      Everyone is not going to learn and excel at the same level. Point blank. Why not give the children who have the capacity to learn and the parents who support them to do so? Why take away a valuable opportunity that can create more CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and professors of the world? I was in a gifted program from K to 8th grade, and because of the program I was not only able to meet expectations but I exceeded them. Now I have my MBA and can now go on and provide my child with opportunities I was never given. Each generation should be doing better than the one before it. And children of color desperately need the opportunities that a charter school can provide for them. Every child (especially underpriviledged) doesn’t have a parent that went to college. And their parents would like for them to do so, Charters schools from what I can see definetly pave the road for this. Let the children LEARN!

    • Just a Mom

      The larger underclass has been created already. Like all parents I just want my child to receive the best education possible. Unfortunately, I am unable to pay the 35k to send one ( i have two) child to a k-12 private school. The traditional public school that I wanted to send my children to would not allow them to attend because it was not in my zone. I guess it’s my poor luck to live in a “unpopular”school district.
      So, what do i do as a parent of school aged children (living in a district where I don’t feel my children can get what they deserve – a great education) do? I can’t really wait for Superman or the traditional public schools to get it together.
      FYI, I was one of the NAACP demonstrators as well as a demonstrator against our Mayor’s proposed school cuts. So as you see, I’m fighting for all children but in the mean time I will not settle for what I see as a sub-standard education for my only children.

    • Harlem, NY

      The public charter schools of NYC are in no way preventing traditional public schools from providing the same high quality education so many students receive in charter schools. The demonstrators at the rally are fighting for quality education for all (charter schools are PUBLIC schools after all). Public charter schools outperform traditional public schools because funds are allocated differently (although they receive less than the traditional public schools) and teachers do not have their hands tied by Union rules and are held accountable for the merit of their work. If the UFT would like to allow teachers to have longer working hours and hold teachers accountable for their performance as a professional, perhaps traditional public schools would fair better on the quality scale.

      There is an ulterior motive behind the lawsuit, and it is just so sad that instead of sitting down and discussing whatever grievances they may have with charter schools, the UFT instead chooses to waste so much valuable time and money with the filing of this lawsuit. If the teachers union wants to sue someone, they should file a lawsuit against themselves for protecting the mediocre teachers that belong to the union who continue to fail students year after year.

  • John Rinaldi

    The teachers just don’t want their gravy train upset. Let’s just keep throwing good mony after bad. The good ol’ american way. Why is it that cops & teachers are the big cry babies of all.

  • David Johnson

    Remember when the NAACP actually worked for the good of minorities everywhere? Take away their tax exemption – they are CLEARLY a political organization.

  • LittleRockMike

    Little Rock, 1957, begin to open public education to all the citizens of the USA., their are people who pull their children from the public schools, because they felt superior. Its our ‘charge’ to work to bring security & quailty to public education and not run from our forefather work. I know all will not put theirselves or their children in such a task, because it not easy, but many need to examine your self, for goal of respect is not always to follow the new!

  • Andy

    absolutely with the demonstrators!!! The City needs to do more to support the schools that desperately need help, and stop creating more and more inequality. Charter schools don’t address parents who don’t help their kids. Charter schools don’t address the millions of dollars wasted paying teachers in “rubber rooms”. The City has to do a better job fixing what they have instead of ignoring the situation.

  • allen miller

    with the demonstrators

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