Are you a parent in New York, New York, and in search of different school options for your child?

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many people’s lives including the way kids receive their education. The changes brought by the pandemic have also made many parents think twice about schooling options.

Arguably, it’s not easy to choose the best school for the child. It’s an overwhelming task given the different school types like local public schools, magnet, and alternative schools, private and public charter schools.

This article aims to help parents make well-informed choices regarding their children’s education. This post will answer different questions like “How do I enroll my children in a charter school in New York, New York?” “What is a public charter school?” and ” What tuition-free schools are available in New York, New York?”

What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in New York?

Charter schools in New York are independent public schools put together by a not-for-profit Board of Trustees. These schools are operating under a charter or contract of up to five years. Charter schools are funded by the state and are part of the New York City Department of Education’s strategy of providing New York families with more high-quality school options. Hence, charter schools are available to all New York City residents.

Charter schools have different and unique approaches towards education. For example, some may have a longer school year, longer school days, or themed programs. They also have a wide range of staffing and academic models, goals, mission, and policies. It is up to each charter school to provide information on grading, schedules, discipline, open house dates, promotion criteria, and names of Board of Trustees members and staff.

The New York state started offering charter schools in 1998 after the NY State Charter Schools Act of 1998 was passed. New York charter schools are authorized by three groups, namely:

  • New York State Department of Education (NYSED)
  • New York City Department of Education (DOE)
  • The State University of New York Charter Schools Institute (SUNY)

What Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools are Available for Children in New York, New York?

We recommend looking at the New York French American Charter School (NYFACS) as an option for your child. The highly-rated school has since 2010 educated hundreds of dual language PK-8 students in their tuition-free French immersion school. They absorb and support all levels of French & English language learners in their highly sought after bilingual and immersion school environment. They unlock a lifelong appreciation for the multicultural world as they teach in French and English. 

Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in New York, New York?

Parents can apply to charter schools of the state that they think best suits the needs of their children. The New York’s rules on charter schools say “Any child who is qualified under the laws of this state for admission to a public school is qualified for admission to a charter school. ” As such, the child’s school district should be a non-issue in the application process.

What is The Process for Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School?

The admission process of charter schools is much like any other school—they require an application. Parents must provide the charter schools with the necessary information during application such as the child’s name, birth date, address, the last school attended, background, and ethnic background.

According to New York rules, charter schools must accept all kinds of students as they cannot discriminate against applicants on the basis of the following:

  • Race
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Creed
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Intellectual ability
  • Ancestry
  • Athletic ability
  • Measures of achievement or aptitude

The Charter Law of New York also says that the deadline of application for a charter school cannot be earlier than April 1, although some charter schools may also have a later deadline. It is best for parents to get in touch with the school directly to know the deadline for application.

Charter schools can give admission preferences to the following:

  • Siblings of students already enrolled
  • Returning students
  • Students residing in the same community school district as the charter school

Charter schools may also give priority to the groups below if the school’s authorizer and laws allow:

  • Students with disabilities
  • English language learners
  • Students who are eligible for reduced prices or free lunch Single-sex charter schools are also allowed

Charter schools that have more applicants than the number of seats they have will resort to a random selection process like the lottery. 

Do Public Charter Schools in New York, NY Offer High-Quality Education?

It’s natural for parents to wonder whether public charter schools provide high-quality education.

Parents in doubt of the quality of instruction of charter schools should know what various studies say. Empirical research shows that on average, students enrolled in a public charter school score higher in math and English Language Arts (ELA) tests when compared to those who attend traditional public schools. These positive effects also remained the same over time.

Parents must also consider the following statistics:

  • In 2019, 57 percent of students from charter schools were proficient in ELA, higher than the 47 percent of students from traditional public schools
  • 63 percent of charter school students from grades 3 to 8 passed the state math exam in 2019 while only 47 percent of students from traditional public schools passed.

Charter schools are another option families in New York, New York should consider. These are public schools providing high-quality education but with a different set of rules than the traditional public schools. They are not bound by local district boundary rules, thus allowing them to accept students outside their districts. 

Parents, however, may face challenges in enrollment should the charter school have more applicants than seats available. Charter school is a great choice, too for parents who want to give quality public education to their children.