CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) — CBS 6 is taking a look at the changing landscape of public education, as many parents look for more choices.
As we've reported, federal and state data shows a drop in public school enrollment since the devastating learning impacts of the pandemic. Many parents have chosen to instead have their kids attend private schools.
However, charter schools are also seeing a rise in interest.
Currently, New York State has a cap set at 460 charter schools statewide. 290 are set aside for New York City alone, and there are 12 here in the Capital Region.
Their growing popularity is raising questions over how to shape the future of traditional public schools that are seeing grades drop, and students leave.
The 12 schools that make up Capital Region Charters serve more than 4,000 students.
They're touted as offering freedom and flexibility to students and their families. They're not tied to statewide or local curriculum, which many parents across the country raised concerns about.
Some focus on certain subjects. Nurses Middle College plans to open in the fall, and will serve ninth graders in Albany interested in nursing, for example. Capital Region Charters' website says they'll grow to serve grades 9-12.
They're free, and are primarily funded by the state, but also may get federal or foundation grant money.
A study commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools saw nationwide, 240,000 additional kids went to charters during the pandemic.
--- "They are differently governed public schools, but they are part of the public school system - certainly charter schools open with much more volatility than traditional public schools do - the availability of charter schools as an option varies from place to place and state to state and within states geographically, so there's a number of different things that need to be looked at," said Ross Santy, the Associate Commissioner of the Administrative Data Division at the National Center for Education Statistics. "---
During his campaign for New York Governor, former Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin called for the cap on charter schools to be lifted, and for school choice tax credits to be offered.
The Center for Education Reform ranked New York 30th in the nation when it comes to how much the state allows and encourages parental involvement in their kids' learning.
Florida, by contrast, has a strong charter school sector and was ranked number one by the group.
Written by JT Fetch, WRGB Albany News 6. January 19th, 2023
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