Results are mixed, at best, for a New York City charter school started four years ago by the United Federation of Teachers. The Charter Schools Institute of SUNY recommended a short-term renewal (three years instead of five) for the elementary and middle school because it hasn’t met its academic goals in reading and social studies.
James Merriman of the New York City Charter School Center “cannot help but focus on the hypocrisy the report uncovers.”
The report draws attention (rightly) to the fact that the school enrolls fewer special education, fewer English Language Learners and fewer free lunch students than the CSD in which it is located, obviating for once and for all the union’s inferences that differences in those numbers are the resultof cheating and manipulation—and showing that those differences are structural and not amenable to statutory fixes that the union has trumpeted (the real purpose of which are simply to limit charter school growth). It also notes that the school’s board of trustees, of which Randi Weingarten is chair, violated the Open Meetings Law: another reason not to take lessons in transparency from the union. Finally, I was amazed to learn that the budget the UFT supplied as part of its renewal showed substantial increases in per pupil revenue despite the UFT having lobbied for a funding freeze this year and acquiesced to one for next year. Does the UFT know something we don’t or are they just willing to subsidize their own school while letting other charter schools, even those unionized, suffer unfair, double cuts? If so, there goes solidarity.
SUNY thinks UFT now has the leadership in place to improve the school. Will the union cut a break for other charter schools that stumble in the first years? Don’t count on it, writes Merriman.
Flypaper also wants an admission that running a school is difficult.