A coalition of charter school advocates is making an end-of-session push for a proposed law that would grant priority for licenses to a leadership that is composed of people of color.
The measure comes a month after state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul approved a $229 billion budget that allowed for the distribution of 14 so-called "zombie" charter school licenses.
Miriam Raccah, the chief executive officer of the Latinx Asian Charter Collaborative, in a letter to Hochul and members of the Legislature, urged them to approve the proposal backed by Assemblyman Brian Cunningham.
"As our society continues to grapple with the legacy of systemic racism, it is crucial that we address the deep-seated disparities that persist in our educational institutions," Raccah wrote in the letter. "Educators of color have historically faced numerous barriers and challenges in accessing equitable opportunities within public education and beyond. By prioritizing them for the released zombie charters, we can begin to rectify these injustices and create a more inclusive and diverse educational landscape in New York."
Cunningham's bill, proposed in the waning days of the legislative session, would give priority to charter school applicants that have a board of trustees and administration in which 51% are minority group members. The measure is expected to gain a sponsor in the state Senate.
"Representation matters, especially within the classroom. When students see themselves reflected in their educators, it fosters a sense of belonging, empowerment, and cultural validation," Raccah wrote in the letter. "It also allows for diverse perspectives and experiences to be integrated into the teaching and learning process, enriching the educational journey for all students."