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Two Democrats for Charter Schools
By Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
Regarding Peggy Noonan's "The Ideologue vs. the Children" (Declarations, March 8): We urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconsider his course of action to close and stop the expansion of high-performing charter schools in New York City. During his campaign, candidate de Blasio promised to work to reduce income inequality for New York City residents and we applaud his commitment on this critical issue. Too many of our low-income children have been sent to unsafe, under-achieving schools that do little to help them reach their full potential and escape the debilitating cycle of poverty.
While many public schools in low-income neighborhoods are preparing their students well, it is fundamentally unfair and frankly inexcusable that some children are relegated to chronically underperforming schools just because of their families' neighborhood and financial situation. It doesn't have to be this way.
Public charter schools are changing what is possible for all children, particularly low-income, minority and disadvantaged students. One of us has witnessed transformational results in New Orleans, where public charter schools have helped to rebuild and reinvigorate the city's economy. The other was the founder of two innovative public charter-school networks in Colorado and New Mexico serving at-risk kids and has seen students make tremendous strides in high-performing public charter schools. Across the country, excellent public charter schools are demonstrating results for disadvantaged students that have not been seen in generations.
Now is not the time to hit the brakes on this progress. Instead, we should hit the accelerator and make sure every child has access to an outstanding, high-performing public school, building on the proven model of public charters.