An empire of red tape
After New York's budget negotiations ended, charter school supporters exuded both cheers and moans. The good news: Lawmakers agreed to expand the state's charter school cap by 100 schools, bringing the total to 200. That's progress, to be sure. But Governor Spitzer originally asked for a 150-school extension, and his initial plan would've allowed New York City School's Chancellor Joel Klein to open 50 charter schools without final approval from the legislatively appointed Board of Regents. The final budget does not give Klein that authority. And then there's the provision that those charter schools enrolling over 250 students in their first two years must unionize. It's still unclear exactly what such unionization entails, though our sources (see here) tell us that it will involve the UFT, though not the citywide UFT contract. Regardless, it's a major attack on one thing that makes charter schools unique, and often successful--little or no union meddling. New York City Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about it: "It is a disgrace that when you have such demand [for charter schools], there's anybody at any level of government who's trying to limit parents' options... If they're not standing up for parents, I'm just going to point it out to everybody." Everybody now includes you.
"Spitzer Wins a Victory on Charters," by Jacob Gershman, New York Sun, March 30, 2007
"Mike Blasts Curbs On Charter Schools," by David Seifman and David Andreatta, New York Post, April 3, 2007