Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Independent Budget Office Study - Reaction from Charter Opponents

The New York Times' "City Room" blog by reporter Sharon Otterman discusses the IBO study (here).

Patrick Sullivan, member of the Panel on Education Policy appointed by the Manhattan Borough President, commissioned the report. He is not a fan of charter schools and is content with them getting less funding: "the concept when charters were created is [sic] that charters should be less expensive." Really, Mr. Sullivan? Charter students count for less; guess they should all suck it up and make the best of it, courtesy of Patrick Sullivan.

Then there is Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers boss, who gets unsurprisingly churlish. He describes the funding difference between district schools and charters in district space as "negligible" and that charter advocates should basically just be quiet. He also ignores the DOE's figure that is nearly triple the IBO's funding gap. What if the opposite were true, and district schools got funding cuts of $300 to $900 per student? Mr. Mulgrew wouldn't call it "negligible;" he'd have a much different reaction.

Further, Mr. Mulgrew says that when you factor in private fundraising, why, charters would have resources "well beyond those of public schools." This is a throwaway statement with no evidence. The reality is that all those charter schools that bust their rear ends to raise money to put a roof over their heads, hire teaching specialists, assist with college preparation, or cover their budget gaps from the funding freeze courtesy of Mulgrew's organization need not make any apologies. The fact that charters must rely on private dollars to provide a quality education is itself a result of this inequality in charter funding going back a dozen years.

Since the UFT purports to represent some charter school faculty, one wonders when Mr. Mulgrew is going to be concerned about this funding gap that does them harm, instead of being so small and dismissive.

Peter Murphy
for The Chalkboard
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