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A standout student at a charter high school in Brooklyn says it’s time for state lawmakers to listen to pupils and parents — and pass a law to allow more charter schools to open.
“It’s unfair to limit opportunities to other students. I really think the legislature should lift the cap on charter schools,” Genesis Ramos, 17, told The Post.
Ramos is a senior at the Math Engineering and Science Academy charter high school, or MESA, in Bushwick — which can’t replicate its success because the state legislature has refused to allow the expansion of more charter schools in New York.
Earlier this month, the Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly refused to amend the law to ease the limit as part of the state budget.
A scandal-weakened Gov. Andrew Cuomo couldn’t get traction for even a much more modest proposal: reauthorizing 20 so-called “zombie” licenses — those surrendered by schools that closed — to new charter-school applicants.
The state’s powerful teachers’ union is opposed to adding more charter schools, which are privately managed, publicly funded alternatives to traditional public schools.
Ramos, who will head to college this fall, said it’s a shame more students are not being afforded the learning opportunities she’s received at MESA.
She was accepted to CUNY’s prestigious Macaulay honor’s program at Hunter and Baruch colleges.
“Being a MESA student provided me with a lot of opportunities,” Ramos said.
“My experience was amazing because of the staff. The teachers are also advisors, coaches and club leaders. The teachers care a lot about the students.”
Ramos said her favorite classes at the moment are Advanced Placement calculus and government and economics.
She recalled dissecting a sheep’s heart and fetal pig during her freshman year.
Ramos said MESA’s rigor was a startling contrast from her regular public middle school, IS 377, which she said didn’t offer advanced Regents high-school-credit courses.
MESA offers about 20 percent more instructional time for students than a typical high school, according to its executive director, Arthur Samuels.
“If the politicians actually understood how amazing MESA is, they wouldn’t have a limit on charter schools,” Ramos said.
“It’s a good opportunity for any student in any borough.”
MESA has already received state approval for a second school in Central Brooklyn, but without a coveted license, it’s in expansion limbo.
”It’s frustrating to see how the political dynamics in Albany is preventing quality schools from opening,” Samuels told The Post.
“Parents want a quality choice,” he said.
The charter school cap is set at 460 statewide, with 290 set aside for New York City, which has already hit that limit.
There are 92 unused charters left for the rest of the state, but they can’t be used in the Big Apple — where the demand is — without a change in state law.
The Mission Society, an anti-poverty group in Harlem, and Urban Dove, which runs “second chance” transfer high schools aimed at helping struggling students in danger of dropping out, also have slammed lawmakers for blocking their bids to open new charter schools.
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