View all Events

The Future of Charter Schools—and School Choice—in NYC

Wednesday April 2016

The parents of more than 12 million American students exercise school choice, by enrolling their kids in charter, magnet, or private schools—or by homeschooling. Many other children use district-wide lotteries, attendance waivers, and interdistrict transfers to attend traditional public schools outside their neighborhoods. Some cities embrace school choice; others actively oppose it.

New York City, the largest U.S. school district, used to be unequivocally among the former. Under mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, the city emerged as a school-choice leader, with open enrollment at the middle- and high-school levels and a thriving charter sector. But, as a new report, “America’s Best (and Worst) Cities for School Choice”—by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a leading education-policy think tank, and Columbia University professor Priscilla Wohlstetter—documents, this is no longer the case. Though many NYC charters continue to fl ourish and grow, they now face, in Bill de Blasio, an unsympathetic and, at times, openly hostile mayor.

The Fordham Institute report, a follow-up to its groundbreaking 2010 study, ranks 30 of the largest U.S. cities on various school-choice metrics, including policy environment, political support, and school quality. School-choice advocates in the Big Apple have reason to worry: local political support for charters plunged to 26th place in 2015 (from eighth in 2010), while the city’s overall ranking tumbled to 12th (from third). Please join us for an MI/Fordham Institute conference on the future of charter schools—and school choice—in New York City.

8:30 - 9:00 AMRegistration and Breakfast
9:00 - 9:15 AMIntroductory Remarks:
Priscilla Wohlstetter, Distinguished Research; Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University
9:15 - 10:15 AMPanel Discussion
Moderator: Naomi Nix, Senior Reporter, The74
James Merriman, President, New York City Charter School Center
Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Charles Sahm, Director, Education Policy, Manhattan Institute