The Case of the Missing 20 Yards

In today’s NYT, we read about the mystery of the missing 20 yards from Lehman High School’s football fieldówhich will somehow still be missing even after a nearly $4 million remodel. Where are those missing yards? If you listen to the bureaucrats at the Department of Education and the School Construction Authority, you would be led to believe that the US Army Corps of Engineers owns the land and won’t give it up. But the Corps says it doesn’t own the property, and told the DOE as much back in November.

All of this no doubt reminds every charter school leader of every maddening encounter they’ve had with a centralized bureaucracyóand why though attacked on many fronts, they decided they needed to operate as a charter in the first place. It probably reminds every district leader of why they hate the bureaucracy so much and yet remain so utterly hemmed in by it.

And while it will probably make no difference to those who believe the worst about charters, let me state something for the record: no charter school controls those 20 yards, no charter leader nixed the acquisition of those 20 yards and no charter school has designs to make those 20 yards its own.