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Updated March 4, 2019
With vote to approve new charters, the sector’s growth in New York City could be indefinitely on hold
With a wave of new approvals Monday, New York City has all but reached the limit on the number of charter schools that…
the race is on
February 1, 2019
With New York nearing charter cap, it’s a race to fill the final spots
Nineteen applicants are competing for the remaining spots. But the decision may come down to who authorizes their chosen candidates first.
October 5, 2018
Rise & Shine: How New York City is failing special education students
A LIFT: Nearly a dozen new charter schools were approved to open in the city over the next three years, as the total…
September 21, 2018
Charter schools, funding, and the SHSAT: What we’re watching if Democrats flip New York’s Senate
New York education policymaking has been defined by predictable splits between the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Republican-controlled Senate. That could change.
ain't over til it's over - and it's over
June 26, 2015
A guide to state lawmakers’ final deal, in which NYC charters emerge as only big winners
Here's a rundown of how mayoral control of New York City schools, the state's charter cap, and state testing transparency rules will change.
aint over til its over
June 25, 2015
More than a day after ‘framework’ agreement, questions remain on education issues
Details of the changes coming to the charter-school law, mayoral control, and teacher evaluations remain unresolved.
June 17, 2015
Senate Republicans push proposal that could add city charters without raising cap
Senate Republicans are now pushing a proposal that would increase the number of charter schools allowed to open in New York City without raising the state’s overall cap.
March 23, 2015
Cuomo’s office: Charter cap, mayoral control decisions likely to be separate from budget
Momentum appears to be shifting in Albany.
June 7, 2010
How scared should SUNY's Charter School Institute really be?
Was the State University of New York's ability to approve and oversee charter schools truly at risk during last month's charter school cap debate? The lead vignette of today's Times profile of city lobbyist Micah Lasher suggests that it was: Just when Micah C. Lasher thought it was safe to finally sleep one recent morning, three words appeared in his in-box: "It's a sham." Mr. Lasher had stayed up all night helping write a bill to increase the number of charter schools in New York, a cornerstone of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's education agenda. But amid the frenzy, a highly contentious provision had slipped by him: the State University of New York would lose its power to approve charter schools. If SUNY's Charter School Institute really was only saved during a middle-of-the-night wrangling, that could be a bad sign for the organization's future: the Institute is currently facing budget cuts that might gut its operations. But all of our information suggests that lawmakers supported keeping SUNY's ability to oversee charters. The provision that could have revoked SUNY's chartering authority was the result of a manic bill drafting process and late-night fatigue, not an attack on the widely-praised charter school overseers.
May 28, 2010
Close to a deal: Charter cap to rise, RFPs, space-sharing rules
After negotiating late into the night, the Assembly, Senate, Mayor Bloomberg, and city teachers union are closer than ever to a deal on how to make New York more competitive for Race to the Top. But even the seemingly final bill introduced today may not be the last version. An Albany source said there are already plans to amend the bill. The full text of the bill in the most updated form we know of is here. Background on Race to the Top is here. This bill would raise the cap on charter schools to 460 from 200, but change the way schools are opened. Prospective charter school operators would have to respond to Request for Proposal documents, like contractors, rather than applying on their own. Exactly how this process would work is unclear, but one effect could be slowing the pace of charter school growth. The bill puts a cap on the number of newly approved charter schools that could open by September 2011 — 32. The deal also aims to ease the tensions (and sometimes all-out wars) that have happened when charter schools are placed inside traditional public school buildings. Now, before schools are placed together, the city's Department of Education would have to write up a new document called a "building usage plan" outlining exactly which rooms would be used by which schools, and proposing how the schools can share common spaces like cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, and auditoriums.
May 26, 2010
No charter cap deal today; teacher eval bill's fate also unclear
There won't be a deal to allow more charter schools in New York today, either, our sources on the train back from Albany report. That leaves tomorrow and Friday for lawmakers to figure out a way to boost the state's chances in the Race to the Top competition — without throwing away their concerns with charter schools. The final deadline for submitting an application is June 1, next Tuesday. Lawmakers have Monday off for Memorial Day. As the deadline nears, a standoff is developing between the state Senate and the Assembly. Each chamber has passed its own legislation tied to Race to the Top: The state Senate already passed a bill that would raise the cap on charter schools to 460 from 200. And yesterday the Assembly passed legislation to build a new teacher evaluation system. The Senate could easily sign on to the teacher evaluation legislation and make it law. But we're hearing that some senators might not sign off so easily. The idea is to prevent Assembly members from taking an easy way out by passing a teacher evaluation bill, but no new charter school laws. Then the Assembly could say something like, "Well, we did at least one thing to help our state's schools win the contest!"
May 26, 2010
Door to door in Crown Heights with a charter school foot soldier
George Banning canvasses for charter school advocates in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. As next week's Race to the Top deadline approaches, pro-charter advocates are marshaling all their resources to lift the state's cap on charter schools. George Banning is one of their foot soldiers. It's been hard to miss the advocacy group Education Reform Now's pro-charter, anti-teachers union ad blitz. The group, backed by millions of dollars raised largely from hedge fund managers, spent $750,000 on a television ad buy last week, for example. Its web ads plaster Google, Facebook and news websites. But the group is also trying to rally support for its efforts in Albany by sending roughly 40 canvassers like Banning literally to voters' doorsteps. To persuade lawmakers to support their issues — many of which clash with the powerful teachers union — Education Reform Now has to argue that its positions enjoy a groundswell of public support. But the true extent of public support for its position is unclear. The last independent poll that asked found that more than 60 percent of New Yorkers wanted more charters, but that was in March 2009. A recent poll reported that public support for Chancellor Joel Klein, a charter school cheerleader, is declining. And so one afternoon last week, Banning hit the streets of the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn armed with postcards and petitions addressed to the neighborhood's assemblyman and senator. On a clipboard, Banning carried a list of names and addresses of registered voters.
May 25, 2010
Two men and the union in a room, talking charter cap
Maybe we’ll have a charter cap deal after all. We’re hearing that the mayor’s top political aide, Howard Wolfson, is in Albany right now meeting…
May 4, 2010
Teachers union strikes back in advertising war over charter cap
Fresh off a loss in the Senate yesterday, the United Federation of Teachers is taking its battle against charter school advocates to the airwaves. The union's new minute-long radio spot, which will air on 13 local stations starting today, accuses the pro-charter lobby of being "more interested in making money and ducking accountability than fighting for our kids." The ad is a response to a media blitz from the pro-charter group Education Reform Now, which has been running online, radio and television ads asking voters to "stop listening to the teachers union." Both sides are ramping up media efforts as the legislative debate over whether and how to raise the state's cap on charter schools picks up steam. Yesterday, the State Senate passed a bill that would more than double the number of charter schools allowed in New York, but the legislation faces a much rockier path in the Assembly. Listen to the radio spot: The full script of the ad is after the jump:
May 3, 2010
Charter cap lift passes Senate, union says it's a "one house" bill
A bill that would more than double the number of charter schools allowed in New York passed the State Senate today to critics' warnings that it would need an overhaul to win the Assembly's approval. Passed by a margin of 45 to 15, the bill would raise the charter school cap from 200 to 460 and would require the schools to serve at least half of the percentage of special education students and non-English speaking students that district schools enroll. Senators who voted in favor of the bill said it would improve the state's chances of winning $700 million in Race to the Top and help families stuck on charter school waitlists. Those opposed said the bill ignored major concerns about co-location, the state comptroller's inability to audit the schools, and the number of charter schools that should be able to operate in a single district.
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