Thousands of New Yorkers march against plan to make charter schools pay rent

Oct 10, 2013 by

NEW YORK – Democrat Bill de Blasio may have a big lead in the New York City mayoral race, but he isn’t polling very well with the parents of charter school students.

An estimated 10,000 people hit the streets of the city Tuesday to call for “a better deal for charter schools,” according to

The marchers were particularly upset about de Blasio’s suggestion that charter schools be forced to pay rent for otherwise empty space they use in New York school buildings.

The candidate also said he would declare a moratorium on forcing public schools to share their buildings with charter schools.

The Democrat’s suggestions make sense from a political point of view.

He’s been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers (the local teachers union), which hates charter schools. The union will provide him with plenty of campaign cash, volunteers and votes, so he figures there’s nothing to lose in turning against charter schools.

But about 70,000 of the city’s 1.1 million public school students attend charter schools, and many of their parents are happy with the education they are receiving. They see no need for the city to become hostile toward alternative schools that allow many students to escape failing and dangerous traditional schools.

“I’m a firm believer that we need to reward excellence,” said Sulma Arzu-Brown, the mother of a charter school student.

Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate for mayor, attended the rally and spoke in favor of charter schools.

“We need more of them, we can’t burden them with paying rent, we can’t burden them with saying they can’t locate or co-locate in a public school,” he said. “We need to wrap our arms around the charter schools and really understand how important they are.”

Thousands of New Yorkers march against plan to make charter schools pay rent – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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