Whenever a charter school authorizer starts the process of revoking a school’s charter, the reactions are predictable. Though the revocation is not final, edu-journalists are fascinated. Teachers and families are justifiably concerned. Authorizers are tight-lipped. Charter advocates like us try to calmly remind everyone that, in the charter school sector, this is what accountability looks like. But everyone agrees that it is a sad day.
Today, teacher data reports for some 32 charter schools will be released to the public, following release of TDRs for district teachers as part of the Teacher Data Initiative. There are two distinct issues worth commenting on: the particularities of the charter school data and the errors therein, and the general issue of public release of such data.
Since November 2011, I and 13 of my charter leader colleagues have been involved in a Data Transparency Project initiated by the New York City Charter School Center. This Advisory Committee, which I sit on, was open to charter leaders across New York City. The group of people that ultimately participated was as diverse as the movement itself with representatives from independent schools and CMOs.
Recently, and unfortunately, much of the media surrounding charter schools has focused on school closures. So much so that one can forget how many amazing charter schools New York City is fortunate to have.
The State University of New York Charter School Institute (SUNY) and New York State Department (SED) have accepted 48 Letters of Intent to start charter schools in the fall 2013. The 48 new entrants have been given a green light to submit full proposals by February 29, 2012 in order to open charter schools in the fall of 2013.
Today, Justice Feinman of NYS Supreme Court ruled against a group of charter opponents who had sought a preliminary injunction against the NYC Department of Education, requiring it to charge charter schools rent when they are co-located in public school buildings. Justice Feinman, in a well-reasoned and thoughtful opinion, declined to grant the preliminary injunction.
Not much has changed in co-location or availability of real estate for public schools in more than 110 years. Our friend Nelson Smith recently perused through the history books and found an interesting quote from 1898 about our public schools in NYC – long before charters were part of the public school landscape.
Amber Charter School is launching a column on education and parenting in El Diario La Prensa (see story in the paper today concerning the new column: http://www.impre.com/eldiariony/vida-estilo/educacion/2011/11/7/no-se-pierda-a-la-maestra-del--281088-1.html.
When the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) released its “struggling schools” list last week, it included six charter schools alongside over 40 district schools. Clearly, NYC DOE wants to signal that accountability is for all schools, including charters. (I can’t help but think how far we’ve come from the time when actual closure was likely only for charters.)