June 20, 2013
By Marc Bussanich

Mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota

New York, NY—Mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota presented his vision for public schools this morning and said he would as mayor of New York City double the number of charter schools from the current 159 charters. Watch Video

Speaking at an event organized by the Association for a Better New York at the New York Hilton, Mr. Lhota referred to charter and public schools as one entity.

“I’m also a big believer in charter public schools. Over a decade ago there were only 14 charters in New York City. I believe they have remarkable results. I’ve seen them. The great ones are better than our regular schools. The ones that haven’t worked, have been closed. But they all have the potential of improving education of every single student in this city,” said Lhota.

In an interview, when asked how he would as mayor support public schools, Mr. Lhota said, “Charter schools are in fact public schools. They get public funding. That’s why I kept calling them charter public schools.”  

But Noah Gotbaum, whose running for City Council in New York’s 6th District on Manhattan’s West Side and a former president of Community Education Council District 3, said that Mr. Lhota is blurring the line between charter and public schools.

“The only thing public about charter schools is that they take public funds and public resources, including buildings. Everything else about them is private. They’re run by private education corporations and they’re accountable only to their private boards, and they don’t have to follow public guidelines that public schools do,” said Gotbaum.

Although public schools educate about 96 percent of the students in New York City, Mr. Gotbaum questioned Mr. Lhota’s commitment to the city’s public school system.  

“If Mr. Lhota is saying his plan for public education is to focus on the four percent of students in charter schools, that confirms he’s not supporting our public schools, but rather undermining them,” Gotbaum said.

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