[ProgressiveEd] Newsday article re: Plans for NYC Charter Schools

[email protected] [email protected]
Wed, 26 Mar 2003 18:32:15 +0000

Dear Education Supporter:
Buried in the Newsday article below is the announcement that the NYC Department 
of Education is chartering 7 new charter schools "for" next year.  As I 
understand it, the schools will start in September. Please note that the DOE 
can charter schools on its own authority.  
Carolyn Prager
Advocates for PUblic REpresentation in Public Education
Fix Formula; Don't Block Creation of Charter Schools
March 26, 2003
Just when the sluggish pace of charter school development seemed to be picking 
up, some Albany legislators are saying the state-authorized schools are too 
expensive to create any more of them, at least for the time being. We couldn't 
disagree more, though lawmakers are right that the formula to calculate public 
funding for the promising, alternative schools needs adjusting. That's the best 
remedy, not a moratorium on new charter schools, even if temporary.
Five years after legislators created the charter-school program, less than 40 
of them are up and running across the state. There ought to be more, especially 
in educationally challenged places like New York City, which has only 18 
charter schools.
The heartening news is that Chancellor Joel Klein is unabashedly high on the 
schools, in marked contrast to his predecessor, who refused to promote them 
with vigor.
The city Department of Education is chartering seven new schools for next year, 
on top of two chartered by the State University of New York. That's a 50 
percent increase in the number of charter schools for New York City. That 
represents progress, if only slight, toward the dual goals of reforming schools 
and developing educational alternatives.
Charter schools were intended to operate on two-thirds of the per-student 
funding allotted for regular public schools. The trade-off is freedom from many 
of the regulations dictating how the schools operate.
But Assemb. Steve Sanders (D-Manhattan) points out that charter schools receive 
state funding based on the cost to educate a district's K-12 students. The 
problem is that most charter schools house the youngest children, the least 
costly to educate, while the formula reflects grades up to high school, the 
most costly.
Perhaps the skewed funding is only fair, given that charter schools miss out on 
capital funds and some grants. That's what legislators should figure out. But 
don't delay new charter schools in the process. 
Copyright � 2003, Newsday, Inc. 
Carolyn Prager
175 West 93rd Street, #16J
New York, NY 10025