Charter School Fight
The Charter School Fight
As he promised in his campaign, Mayor De Blasio has taken on the Charter Schools, in particular on the issue of co-locations. You can see our article here about co-locations (click).
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Now the Charter School Fight is threatening to overshadow the Mayor’s trip to Albany (which is, ostensibly, about his Pre-K plan). There’s a major rally planned for Tuesday this week, to demand that charter schools get a share of the Pre-K money, and to show De Blasio just who he’s dealing with.
So why the charter school fight? What are the different sides saying?
We’ve got you covered. Here’s the breakdown of issues, major players, and possible outcomes. read the post for the main ideas, or follow the links for a deeper dive.
Why did this fight start? Over Co-Locations.
The Mayor and Chancellor have decided on a 4- point plan to deal with co-locations, saying that a co location would be based on the following:
- their impact on programs serving students with disabilities
- whether they would place elementary school students in high school buildings
- the messiness of the plan’s logistics
- the size of the school (the city doesn’t want to increase the number of schools with fewer than 250 students)
Chancellor Fariña said in a statement: “While the circumstances for each proposal are unique, we identified clear criteria and we followed it. But more importantly, as enrollment deadlines approach, we considered the thousands of families that could be affected. We were deliberate in our decisions and, under the circumstances we inherited, believe this is the best approach.” More here
That seems reasonable. What got people mad? Plans for 3 schools are not going forward.
Last week, based on this plan, the Mayor reversed plans for 9 charter schools that were set to open next year, scuttling 3 Success Academy Charters entirely, and sending Charter supporters into rally-mode.
Lost in the shuffle? The administration will leave alone the majority of the 40-something late-term approvals inherited from Bloomberg. 40 of these approvals will proceed. But De Blasio and Fariña still taking heat for rescinding these three school approvals. For a roundup of the backlash, see here.
Wait how does this affect the push for Universal Pre-K? Does it? Maybe.
Is the Charter Schools Fight just a “side-show,” as the Mayor took heat for saying?
Or is it crowding out the Mayor’s Pre-K and After-School plan? Well, the Mayor held a press conference Monday, to outline how the Middle School after-school program would bring an extra 850 hours of instructional time to middle schoolers, and we’re not hearing about it. We’re hearing about the charter schools fight.
Eva Moskowitz: Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz told board members this week that she expected some of her schools to be affected and she said she planned to sue the city over the decision. She also is also taking part in a large rally on Tuesday in Albany to ask state lawmakers for extra funding and legislative action to allow charter schools to access pre-kindergarten funding.
Moskowitz will be shutting down all of her schools this coming Tuesday to join more than 2,000 charter school advocates from across the state in Albany to push lawmakers to support their schools.
Wait, is that legal? Debatable (click for why).
What’s the Teachers’ Union say?
The UFT: United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew gave this statement:
“I’m glad the DOE has taken an important first step in vetoing some particularly troublesome pending co-locations,” said Mulgrew, who sued the city over co-location plans last year.
Who’s the mysterious “Charter group:”
Reporter Geoff Decker highlights this Charter group, which has not given an official name, and is distancing itself from the rallies that are and will be going on. They seem to be gaining traction with the De Blasio camp, and are trying to work with City Hall on a plan to move forward.
They don’t have a name?
“Recently, the group goes by “community-based public charter schools”… But its core leadership has stayed the same, consisting of, among others, Berlin, New Visions for Public Schools President Robert Hughes, Renaissance Charter School founder Stacey Gauthier, Teaching Firms of America founder Rafiq Kalam Id-Din, Future is Now Schools founder Steve Barr, and Jonathan Gyurko, an education consultant and former city education official.” More on this group here
Any quick video on this? Glad you asked.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: Starlee Rhoades is the vice-president for communications, and if you have 4 minutes and 40 seconds to watch, she’s here explaining her case to the Wall Street Journal.
Where can I find even more info?
Take a deeper dive into the issue! What’s the problem with funding Charter schools? We’ll go into this point by point in a later blog this week, but you can read up here.
Tuesday’s rally may draw attention from the Pre-K fight; the city may sue Moskowitz over pulling her students out of school for political ends; the rent-free status of charters may be in jeopardy; co locations will change. De Blasio is fighting the Pre-K fight, and may have created a second front here, stepping into a fight with charters.
For our money, it’s worth taking a step back and examining who’s on which side and where the money trail comes from and leads. Just something to keep an eye on as this develops: Who profits on either side? Why would certain papers/ groups/ politicians support either side? This is a complicated issue, and there is not one answer. Charter Schools and School Reform and School Choice all bear a ton of plusses and minuses, and are all complicated webs of politics and money. As we dig in and pull it apart, we will highlight strands for you. In the meantime, tell us what you think!!
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