This is good news for charter schools, and Sen. Oppenheimer should be commended.
The Post today editorialized on this issue, and also credited Oppenheimer (link). The editorial did, however, characterize her decision as a "flip-flop." I don't think that's fair.
Sen. Oppenheimer, in her capacity as chair of a committee, introduces dozens of bills for a variety of reasons, most of which do not pass. In fact, all state legislators propose hundreds of bills annually that never see the light of day. They put their names of bills either because they really want the issue addressed, or at the behest of interest groups and constituents, or because a fellow legislator or staff requested they do so. As such, legislative bills do not have the same importance or interest of the member introducing them or co-sponsoring them.
Sen. Oppenheimer is a veteran lawmaker, first elected in 1984, representing part of Westchester County. Rather than dodge the Post reporter's question with ego-driven spin, she simply stated that she looked into the issue and reconsidered the bill, saying "as it turns out, [SUNY charters] are actually some of our very best."
This is thoughtful and commendable of Sen. Oppenheimer. She listened. She reviewed the issue. And, importantly, she did not act with haste as this bill was never put on the committee's agenda for action.
We need more thoughtful legislators like this.
for The Chalkboard
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