Charter schools are thinking hard about whether to accept Race to the Top grants, wondering whether the requirements for teacher evaluation will represent a slide back to bureaucratic micromanagement. Advocates like Tom Carroll are right to ask this question. Charter schools have learned the hard way about the importance of protecting their operational autonomy, and at the Charter Center we’ve backed them at every turn.
Today is the deadline for charter schools to decide if they’re going to participate in the Race to the Top program. While participating has implications for charter school autonomy, as pointed out by several pro-charter organizations over the past few days, there are three reasons we think schools should sign on, as I detailed in a letter to the City’s charter leaders this morning.
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.
Appearing on Good Day New York yesterday, Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D - Brooklyn) talked about his reasons for supporting the charter schools bill that recently passed in the Senate.†
"The status quo hasn't worked. There has to be some creativity.... Parents in my district are actually moving out of my community. Some of them are using phony addresses to get into other kinds of schools."
"We're stepping out because we need that additional money... and we think this would be one way of creating an alternative that can work."
Appearing on Good Day New York this morning, UFT President Michael Mulgrew was asked about the union’s role in losing $700 million for New York public schools in Race to the Top, Round 1.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses $700 million.
With only one round remaining in the Race to the Top, it’s time for cash-starved New York to bear down and win this thing. That means understanding the rules of the game and learning from experience ñ why did we lose Round 1? And what will victory require in Round 2?
In the latest white paper from the Charter Center, I offer some answers to these questions based on the RTTT reviewers’ actual scores and comments on New York’s application.