Race to the Top: Is stopping one charter school worth $3.5 million?

Let’s say you’re a state lawmaker. And let’s say you simply despise charter schools.††

(It’s a stretch, I know, especially given charter schools’ proven success with disadvantaged kids and all the pent-up demand from parents. But just suppose.)

How much would you have to dislike charter schools to ignore the Race to the Top? Let’s do some simple math:

† RTTT could bring New York State $700 million in federal education funding.

† Roughly 99% of that would flow to statewide programs or traditional public schools. So call it $693 million for non-charters.

† To get competitive, Albany would have to pass some reformsóincluding raising the charter cap by at least 200 schools.

If an unlifted cap costs New York an RTTT victory, that’s an immediate cost of roughly $3.5 million for each charter school preventedóincluding dozens of schools that won’t open for years. And this amid a deep budget crisis?

That’s one expensive stance.