I finally got a chance to see Waiting for Superman; it lived up to its hype. There’s not much to add about the film’s emotional punch. The portraits of the individual children and their parents are heart-rending. And the consequences of failure at a national level are laid out with frightening clarity. It will resonate.
Whew. The Race is over. Thanks to the Legislature’s action to pass a series of reforms, including lift the statewide cap on charter schools, New York overcame its first-round stumbles and is among the ten winners of Round 2 of Race to the Top.
Saturday’s NY Post reported the answer to a critical question: since over 90% of NYC charter school students are Black or Hispanic, what do this year’s generally sobering test scores say about their performance compared to Black and Hispanic students in district schools?
People sometimes ask me why the charter sector is so intent on building political power, including working with charter school parents to increase the effectiveness of their advocacy. The simple answer is that families wantóand deserve to getóthe best for their kids. Parents can exert enormous influence over public policy, even those policies that seemingly go against the “values” and voting records of our legislators.
The State Ed Department announced the winners of federal Charter School Program grants today and all of them are in NYC. Eight new charter schools won grants totaling more than $3 million. The competitive dollars are awarded based on the strength of schools’ applications and their plans to use the money to bolster their educational programs. The fact that all the grantees are in NYC says a lot about the potential of schools opening up here. This year’s winners are:
The State Education Department has always had the power to authorize charter schoolsÖ but for the past decade, the role of “quality authorizer” has been played mostly by SUNY and here in the City, by the Chancellor’s office. But in issuing its Request for Proposals (RFP) todayóa process mandated under the new Charter School lawóI’m happy to see the State Ed Department is finally acting like an authorizer and wants to be a part of building up NY’s reputation as a model charter sector.
"What we're clearly seeing from so-called reformers is that they're putting money out there early and clearly threatening to use big dollars against people who don't toe the line," [NYSUT president Richard] Iannuzzi said.