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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NYC Charter Schools: Young Kindergarteners Need Not Apply

Yesterday from the New York Times:

Some Charters Impose Earlier Kindergarten Cutoff Dates
Feb. 14, 2012, 8:09 a.m.
By Mary Ann Giordano
The New York Post reports this Tuesday morning that some charter schools have moved up their cutoff entry dates for kindergarten to as early as Aug. 31, meaning parents of children who have birthdays after that date must wait out a year before applying or send them to kindergarten elsewhere.

The Post cites the examples of Amber Charter School of East Harlem and Voice Charter School of New York in Long Island City, Queens. Both set their cutoff date as Sept. 1. The Post writes:

The move leaves the youngest batch of 5-year-olds — who education experts say often struggle the most academically — to either sit out a year or attend traditional district schools, even though charter schools are fully taxpayer-funded.

The new policy at Voice Charter was tabled after parents complained, The Post writes. One parent, Valerie Lamour, a member of the District 30 Community Education Council in Queens, whose son’s birthday is in December, told The Post: “If the D.O.E. is going to offer kindergarten to all 5-year-olds who are residents, then charter schools that operate within our district also need to adhere to the same rule.”

DOE officials said they believe charter schools are allowed to determine their own admissions deadlines because they’re technically considered to be independent districts.

The Post also reports that the state on Monday approved its application to seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

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