It was not to be in New York.
At a Sunday afternoon press conference, January 3rd, the United Federation of Teachers unveiled a charter "hit-list" (my words) of detrimental policies it wanted to accompany any cap lift. Without question, adoption of any number of these policies, including eliminating SUNY, imposing higher building costs, and others, would turn back the clock on chartering by neutering New York's charter school law. In other words, the teachers unions' agenda was to make any provision to lift the cap unworkable.
That's not what the President had in mind.
Teacher Union Heads Hurt NYS Chances for RttT $
The UFT and its state parent, the New York State United Teachers, got the legislative majorities to introduce a bill to pretend to lift the charter cap while simultaneously fulfilling their agenda of shackling charter schools beyond recognition, this time in stealthy fashion. Why else would they support this bill? By contrast, the unions wanted no part of Gov. Paterson's clean cap lift bill.
The union leaders blameshifting logic denies the reality of their own culpability in this fiasco of failing to strengthen New York's competitive chances for Race to the Top. But charter advocates must press on and make the case for the quality and success charters have been for children and the need for more, as the Daily News reports today.
If New York State loses out on a federal Race to the Top grant because 8 percent of the points fell away by its inhibiting charter schools, we can "thank" UFT and NYSUT, who will have ultimately denied their own membership these funds flowing to their schools. How can I be so sure? NYSUT's head, Richard Iannuzzi made this all too clear when he called the charter cap a "bogus issue with respect to Race to the Top."
The unions' behavior throughout the month made abundantly clear that having more, effective charter schools from a unhindered cap lift and other education reforms and accountability wasn't worth up to $700 million in new federal education funds.
for The Chalkboard
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