Public charter schools are free public schools open to all students, including students with disabilities and multilingual learners. Charter schools are independent of the New York City Department of Education, which allows them the freedom to try new approaches, respond to community needs, and put student learning first. However, public charter schools are held accountable for advancing student achievement; if they do not meet their goals, a charter school can be closed.
Visit NYC Charter Schools
Find out what charter schools can offer your child. NYC charter schools offer numerous events, including Open Houses and school tours, throughout the year. View our citywide NYC Charter School Open House Calendar for specific dates and times.
New York state’s first charter school opened in Harlem in 1999, one year after the passage of the Charter Schools Act. Since then, an average of 12 public charter schools opened annually in New York City until the city’s cap was hit in 2019. New York City’s existing charter schools have continued to grow grades and expand their charters, and today serve approximately 15% of the city’s public school children.
In 2023, New York State lawmakers authorized the revival of 14 ‘zombie’ charters. This is not a change to the charter cap, but rather a provision allowing authorizers to re-issue the 14 New York City charters that have closed since 2015 to new operators.
NYC Charter School Student Proficiency
Public charter schools prepare students for college and careers. Charter school students continue to outperform their district counterparts on state exams.
Research has repeatedly shown that NYC has one of the top performing charter school sectors in the country: