Today, the legislative leadership of the Assembly and Senate majorities revealed they agree, judging by the contents of this new bill. (For the record, both leaders issued statements today claiming their proposal improves the state's chances for a competitive grant.)
Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver; and Senate Majority Conference Leader, John Sampson late last night introduced legislation (A.9558/S.6468) purportedly to raise the charter school cap from 200 to 400. They may as well have raised it to 1,000, because it doesn't matter -- it's perpetrating a fraud. The U.S. Department of Education will see right through this window-dressing, even if legislators can't or won't.
NYCSA president, Bill Phillips, issued a statement in reaction to the bill (here).
Regents New Powers; SUNY Becomes a Carcass
A new RFP process is imposed for all new charters and is designed purely as a gate-keeping measure to stifle more schools. And, SUNY's chartering role would be a shell of its current self: it would no longer oversee or renew any charters, including those it already approved; and it would have a minimal role in the new RFP process. Ominously, this bill would concentrate chartering with the state Regents, implemented through the state Education Department.
The poison pills overflow in this bill, including more expensive (and unnecessary) building codes even though charters would get no facilities funding; new roadblocks to sharing district space in New York City; removes school districts, namely, the NYC Schools Chancellor, from chartering; and bans charter schools from contracting with for-profit management companies.
Governor Paterson Staying in the Race to the Top
Governor Paterson was critical of the legislature's bill, which ignored his proposal and, even more so, the Regents reform agenda. He called them to Albany on Martin Luther King Day tomorrow evening to deal with Race to the Top legislation -- one that would actually help schoolchildren, including those wanting to attend charter schools.
That is where the legislature's focus needs to be, for a change.
for The Chalkboard
Disclaimer: The Chalkboard is hosted by the New York Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can view and respond to informed commentary on timely public education and charter school issues. The views expressed here are not necessarily the official views of the NYCSA, its board, or of any of its individual charter school members. Anyone who claims otherwise is violating the spirit and purpose of this blog. To comment on anything you read here, or to offer tips, advice, comments, or complaints. please contact TheChalkboard.