Randi Weingarten 'incredibly disappointed' NYC Dem frontrunners for mayor embracing school choice

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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Teachers’ Federation, tweeted on Thursday that she is “incredibly disappointed” that New York City mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia expressed support of lifting the city’s cap on charter schools. 

Weingarten linked to a Politico report demonstrating how New York’s frontrunners in the Democratic primary are far more supportive of charter schools than the city’s incumbent mayor. 

“I’m incredibly disappointed to see Kathryn Garcia go this route with charters,” the teacher’s union president wrote. “She’s embraced the unacceptable policy of lifting the charter cap in NYC. Now.. Two minutes be4 early voting starts. Wondering why?” 

Garcia said during a virtual debate late last month that she wants New York to expand the number of charter schools in New York City. 

“I do support raising the charter cap because I want every kid to have the opportunity,” Garcia said.  “It’s become too political,” Garcia, the city’s former sanitation commissioner, said of the charter school debate.”Like you’re not pure enough on this or that. I just don’t feel that way.”

Since 2010, the cap on the number of charter schools in New York State has been 460.

Andrew Yang, another Democratic candidate, wants to keep the cap but wants to resurrect “zombie charters,” or schools that won a charter but closed or were never opened.

The city’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio, has repeatedly butted heads with school choice advocates. 

According to 2019 figures, less than half of public school students in New York City can read and do math at grade level. Students enter a highly competitive process for a spot in one of the city’s nine specialized public high schools.

Roughly 138,000 students are currently enrolled in 267 charter schools citywide, and Black and brown students who come from homes with low incomes make up the majority of those students.

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