Facing political headwinds, charter schools weigh a new identity
Stacey Gauthier, principal of Renaissance, a pre-K through 12 charter in Jackson Heights, noted that she’s a board member of the Coalition of Community Charter Schools, which she described as a grassroots coalition that has been around a while but doesn’t have “lots in dollars.”
“We definitely are like the little engine that could and we do a lot of grassroots work... [getting] on the ground, getting to know people, relationship-building and that’s a big part of our focus,” Gauthier said, noting that the movement has “a lot of new people in elected office that we need to tell our stories to."
She said that Success has offered some “really fantastic” professional development but noted there are certain approaches employed by various charters — not just Success — that she would not endorse, giving the examples of the “no excuses” approach and big political rallies.
Michael Catlyn, another board member who serves as the vice chair of the Brooklyn Charter School — the first charter approved by the city education department — said the school opened in 2000 and that there are no plans to open others. He said he would like to see different leaders and networks come together in the form of a coalition.
“We should all come together, pool our resources, get our things together and work together for the common good in strengthening, growing the charter sector,” he said.