Exploring New York City Charter Schools

As an arena of hotly contested politics and ideologies, the U.S. education system determines the methods through which millions of students learn each year. For decades, public schools have suffered from inequitable resource distribution and have provided unequal levels of education to students. As a possible solution to this inequity, charter schools offer a new vision for the education system and they have gained increasing popularity in recent years, particularly in urban areas. Charter schools are independently run public schools that operate under a legal charter. While they are tuition free, and rely on public funding, these schools have the agency to take uncustomary learning/teaching approaches. This website explores the opportunities and obstacles within the New York City Charter school system. We use our op-eds to reflect on the punitiative nature of “no excuses” charter schools, question the spaces that they take up, consider their accessibility, and their relationship with NYC financial elites.

Designed by students in the course Race, Space, and Urban Schools at Barnard College, this website will give viewers a thorough understanding of how dynamics of race and space play an integral role in the politics of charter schools. The course has challenged us to view academic institutions as racialized spaces, and the charter school system provides many examples of racialized discourse, practices, and policies. We invite viewers to learn more about charter schools through several different lenses by taking a look at each of the pages on the site.


After browsing our op-eds on the tabs above (Placement, Disabilities, Politics, and No-Excuses), feel free to check out these extra resources for further information! 

For general information about charter schools in NYC:

For additional resources and information about students with disabilities in charter schools:

For information about charter schools and school discipline:

A film that details the charter school lottery system:

For basic information about charter schools nationally: