Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Charter school expansion without parent input blocked

Yesterday, the NY State Legislature refused to pass the governor’s proposed doubling of the charter school cap, without including a condition that no charter school could be forced into a school building without the approval of parents whose children already attend school in the building. The mayor and the charter school lobby refused to accept this condition, so the charter school expansion was not approved.

This expansion was proposed, not so that public education in this city would be improved, but so that NY State's chance for federal "Race to the Top" funding might be enhanced. (For our earlier coverage of the flaws of the Race to the Top, including how it ignores the findings of research and the priorities of parents, see here , here and here.)

As Speaker Silver said, “Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein were willing to sacrifice the creation of 200 more charter schools rather than accept any limitation on their unchecked power to ignore the voices of parents and displace traditional public schools from existing classroom space.”

Thanks to all of you who called your legislators; NYC parents won a big one yesterday!

Juan Gonzalez writes about why having parent input in charter school sitings is so important, in today’s Daily News. In case you’re keeping track, the only Democratic State Senators who signed onto the governor’s bill for charter school expansion with no parent input allowed were Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx and Craig Johnson from Long Island.

For more on what happened yesterday, see Gotham Schools and Times.