A Fake Reform

Charter schools are beacons of hope in dozens of inner-city neighborhoods. They are tremendously popular, so much so that public pressure has convinced Albany to lift an arbitrary cap on the number of charter schools throughout the state. State legislative leaders, often considered allies of the teachers’ union, put together a bill that would double the number of charter schools statewide, from 200 to 400.

Good news? A rare sign of sanity in Albany? Guess again. The charter school bill actually is reactionary, pro-union and anti-innovation. It’s a clumsy attempt to respond to a federal deadline that rewards states for innovations like charters; in reality, it’s a document designed to protect the interests of the United Federation of Teachers with a slew of new restrictions and regulations that would choke the growth of charters.

The bill was scheduled for a vote at press time on Tuesday. At stake is about $700 million, which is what the feds are willing to give New York as part of the “Race to the Top” program designed to encourage educational innovation. Legislative leaders knew that the state couldn’t afford to pass up the federal funds, so they constructed a faulty bill that seemed to encourage the growth of charters, but that restricts their ability to innovate.

The charter expansion bill is yet another example of Albany’s embrace of business as usual. When will lawmakers get the message?

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President