Wednesday, April 09, 2014

On the Rocketship: How High Performing Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope

Richard Whitmire (who's out with a new book I just received but haven't had a chance to read yet, On the Rocketship: How High Performing Charter Schools are Pushing the Envelope; click here to pre-order) on the huge national implications of Cuomo and what just happened in NYS:

That fact that a governor like Andrew Cuomo, someone mentioned as a future presidential contender, came out so strongly in support of charter schools is something that won't go unnoticed nationally.

Congress is definitely paying attention. The House education committee is scheduled to update the federal Charter Schools Program — an update which would increase the share of program funds used to support facilities for charters. Do you really think conservative House members will allow themselves to be outdone by a liberal New York governor?

And then there are impacts in Democrat-leaning states. In nearby Connecticut, a state with weak charter school laws, the governor and legislature have to be wondering about whether the time is right to move in New York's direction.

In Massachusetts, Democrats may be rethinking their opposition to a law allowing high performing charters to expand. If Cuomo was willing to stand tall, does that make Gov. Deval Patrick look like, well, something less than tall? Um, yes.

Several Republican governors, some of whom remain a bit wishy washy on charters, will feel a bit skunked. In Pennsylvaniaand Tennessee, the governors have to be wondering: Why are we letting a Democratic governor like Cuomo make us look passive, maybe even a little wimpy, on charters?

On the flip side of the political picture, in progressive enclaves across the country, places where New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio is regarded as the brightest political prospect they've seen in years, political leaders have to be wondering what went wrong. If the incredibly popular de Blasio got slam dunked while attempting a modest charters trim back, what hope do they have?

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