Monday, January 09, 2006

Lines Are Drawn in Fight to Add Charter Schools

This article from the front page of today's NYT (actually a reasonably fair and balanced one -- a rarity for Gootman) is the main battle we at Democrats for Education Reform are fighting right now, as incredible successes like KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools can't expand and help more children unless the charter cap lifted.
whether and how to adjust the cap is a fierce debate that cuts across party lines. It makes black and Hispanic Democrats from New York City allies of the Republican governor in favor of expansion, and potentially at odds with a traditional ally, the labor movement. And it pits upstate school districts and legislators, including Republicans, against Gov. George E. Pataki on an issue that often gets conservative support.

It also forges an alliance between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Pataki, even as they remain bitterly divided over Albany's refusal to comply with a court order mandating billions of dollars more for the city schools.

"This is a make-or-break moment for the charter school movement," said Merryl H. Tisch, a regent from New York City.

Kudos to Klein for waging this fight:
"To me it's unimaginable that we wouldn't be allowed to create more charter schools," Mr. Klein said in an interview. "It's not like you've got a whole bunch of high-performing schools in the South Bronx or in central Brooklyn. What you've got is a whole bunch of long-term failures in the system, and an opportunity to bring in new blood and new talent."
Lines Are Drawn in Fight to Add Charter Schools
Published: January 9, 2006

A battle over expanding the number of charter schools allowed in New York State will enter a decisive stage this week when the Board of Regents is expected to authorize the last four charter schools it can under state law.

Fourth graders at the Harlem Day Charter School in Manhattan in an ethics class.
Since 1998, when lawmakers agreed to allow charter schools but to cap the number statewide at 100, the number of children attending them has risen to almost 23,000. With the growth has come rancorous disagreement over whether the privately run but publicly financed schools are any better than those in the traditional public system.

New York City already has 47 charter schools. A range of people and groups are opening them, including Eva S. Moskowitz, the former chairwoman of the City Council Education Committee; David Levin, whose South Bronx charter school has been a model for dozens of others nationwide; and the city teachers' union. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has vowed to open about 75 more by the end of his second term....

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