Open Letter to Mayor de Blasio

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

You have called New York a tale of two cities, and we could not agree more.

In some neighborhoods, families have a choice of sending their children to high-performing district schools or affording a private or parochial education; meanwhile, many families in low-performing districts who cannot afford to pay tuition have no high-quality choices – or can’t gain access to the handful that do exist.

Charter schools level the educational playing field for their students. But as long as there is a cap on the number of charter schools in the city, New York will continue to have a school system where zip code dictates destiny. As leaders of public charter schools in New York City, we see firsthand how life changing an excellent school can be.

Already, we receive so many applications that we cannot keep up with demand; New York City has more families on charter school waiting lists than anywhere else in the country. The vast majority of these students attend struggling city schools—schools you recognize are not serving children well.

In your speech at Riverside Church last year, you said you were “devoted to each and every child in this city – in traditional public schools, charter schools, and religious schools.” You pledged to be the Mayor for all children.

We write to ask you to honor that commitment. Mr. Mayor, we urge you to stand with parents in their fight for school choice and to support eliminating the state’s cap on charter schools. We ask you to help make New York one city, with equal educational opportunity for all.

Sincerely,

Dave Levin, Co-Founder, KIPP Foundation

Jacob Mnookin, Executive Director, Coney Island Prep

Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO, Success Academy Charter Schools

Brett Peiser, CEO, Uncommon Schools

Ian Rowe, CEO, Public Prep

Dacia Toll, Co-CEO and President, Achievement First