The Chancellor appears to be showing a greater urgency to see the charter cap raised since the Regents are likely to reach their half at the moment New York's Race to the Top application is due next month to the U.S. Department of Education. The state's application will be more competitive on the federal scoring rubric by having more room under its cap since 8 percent of the points comprise charter school policies. Other states understood as much and raised their charter caps accordingly.
New York a Magnet for Great Schools
The Post also reports today that several operators of high-quality charter schools, including MATCH, a charter high school in Boston, Citizens Academy in Cleveland, and the SEED Foundation in Washington, D.C., all are interested in expanding in New York, but not until the cap is lifted.
It takes a lot of time and effort to create a new charter school in another location. Founders must assemble to constitute a non-profit board, feasible building locations must be explored, funding has to be raised, and the application itself prepared. Last time the cap was reached, it took nearly a year and half to be raised by the state legislature. No out-of-state operator is going to come here until it knows for sure there is room for charter schools.
New York's students should be so lucky. For all the negativity in the state, with jobs vanishing and population relocating, New York continues to be a magnet for many of the best public school operators and support organizations in the country. Some groups are from within the state, including Success Charter Network and Brighter Choice Foundation; others are from elsewhere, including Achievement First (Conn.) and National Heritage Academies (Mich.); and still other networks like Uncommon Schools are operated by several individuals who came home, that is, native New Yorkers that operated great schools elsewhere and returned to the state to set up under the state's charter law.
Little of this will matter to many politicians in New York who deal in power politics, not issues of merit. Better schools from "outsiders" will not be persuasive, and seem trite. Parents, by contrast, just want a great education for their children, and 40,000 of them are on charter school waiting lists, hoping for the chance, regardless of where the operator came from. That should be reason enough for politicians to raise the charter cap for more great schools.
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