Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani, 107th Mayor

Announcement of the Charter School Fund Awards:

Monday, April 30th, 2001

As Delivered


Good morning. It's a great pleasure to be here at the Community Partnership Charter School in Brooklyn. I went to high school a few blocks from here. This has always been a beautiful community, a great place to live and raise a family. This school fits that tradition.

Last October I was very proud to announce that New York City was going to take the lead in encouraging the growth of charter schools by instituting the first and most generous charter school fund in the country. Today, which happens to be the first day of National Charter School Week, we're announcing the results of these grants. Fourteen charter schools, at least one in each borough, have been selected by the members of the Fund Committee to receive generous cash awards totaling $3.4 million.

Let me explain why it's necessary to do this. For all its many strengths, the New York State Charter School law does not provide adequate funding for charter school facilities. New York City public schools this year will receive over $12 billion. This translates into $9,820 per student. But students in Charter Schools receive only $6,630 per pupil. So what you see here has been achieved on an operating budget that is a third less than that of a comparable public school.

Not only that, but there are no funds for capital improvements, whereas the budget for the New York City school system for capital improvements is about $4 billion. So you take those two sources of funding out and it's easy to see that these schools are being operated on substantially less money. And that's not right. Charter schools should be operating on the same basis as public schools because, as you pointed out, they are public schools. They should be receiving the same per-student amount. They should be receiving capital-improvement funds. And these grants are helping to try to accomplish just that.

Charter schools represent the future of public education in America's cities. It is a shame that some people are blocking that future. The choice with regard to the education of children should lie with the parents, not with the government bureaucracy. Government bureaucracies don't care about your children as much as you care about your children. Government bureaucracies can't love your children, only parents can love children. Government bureaucracies can't give all the extra effort that a parent can give, an effort that is so obvious right here. This school has a wonderful, dedicated staff and is grounded in a really inspirational idea, but the main factor that sets it apart is the high degree of parental involvement. And that's what we have to create all throughout the city.

Charter schools should be something we encourage, not discourage. Charter schools offer a way to recapture the greatness of American public schools. When I went to high school, public education was the ladder to success in America. It was the great provider of equality. People could be very poor, and they could have very difficult, disadvantaged backgrounds. But they could get a really good education. And they could make something of themselves and therefore help their communities. We can't really say to enough kids in New York City that that's what public education is all about in New York City today.

Charter schools, by giving parents a meaningful choice, put the whole issue of education back into the hands of the people who care about the children most. This way, we can rebuild that ladder to opportunity for this generation of students. I respect very much what you're doing. This school's a real inspiration. And this should be the kind of thing that we encourage more and more of in the City of New York. So I'm glad that we are able to hand out this money. We're also going to put in a 10% bonus for schools that continue to perform this way. And we're going to deduct 10% from any schools that slip.

And we're doing that for a very special reason. We're doing that because the other lesson that public schools need to learn from your experience is accountability. At your school, all the teachers are accountable and parents understand that all the children are accountable. The New York City Public School System, as we find out every day, is not accountable. Every child in New York City should have the opportunity for an education just like this one. And our job is to make that happen.

Thank you very much.



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