Public charter schools would not exist, let alone grow and thrive, without demand from families seeking high-quality public school choices. Since New York City’s first charter school opened in 1999, this educational option has grown to encompass 267 schools serving 135,902 students—with nearly 81,300 applicants for just 33,000 seats.
135,902 NYC charter schools are educating more students than Boston’s entire public school district.
1 in 2 kindergarten students in Harlem attends a charter school.
1 in 10 students citywide attend a charter school in the 2018-19 school year.
Based on survey data and data from the Common Online Charter School Application, the Charter Center estimates that NYC charter schools received a total of 296,093 applications for kindergarten through grade 12. Adjusting for students who apply to more than one charter school, this represents an estimated 81,300 applicants for nearly 33,000 available seats.
Parent demand for New York City charter schools reaches an all-time high! Demand increased by nine percent for the 2018-19 school year. There were an estimated 79,600 applicants for the approximately 26,900 seats available in the anticipated 238 NYC charter schools operating this fall. Nine in ten charter schools report having waiting lists that are at least twice the number of available seats.
Parent demand for New York City charter schools increased by seven percent for the 2017-18 school year! There were an estimated 73,000 applicants for the nearly 25,200 seats available in the 227 charter schools that will be operating this fall. This leaves nearly 48,000 students on waitlists citywide.
Given the critical needs of many NYC students, particularly those in underserved communities, the Charter Center analyzed district school performance, charter demand, and Census data that identified four neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens that would particularly benefit from the immediate growth of high quality charter schools.
This report shows charter schools are an increasingly significant and growing component in NYC's public education system. In fact, one in three students in Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn now attend charter schools and enrollment in charters has doubled over the past four years.