Wake-up call

For charter schools across New York State, today’s news out of Albany was disappointing. It could have been much, much worse.

In a fitting finale to months of procrastination and confusion, state lawmakers†failed to pass any charter school legislation to†raise the charter cap†and help win the Race to the Top. (That’s the federal competition that could have brought $700 million to our cash-strapped state, but now almost certainly won’t.)

Amazingly, the stalemate was relatively†good news for charter schools, since it marked the defeat of a proposal to gut the charter school system. In the Mayor’s words, that bill was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and it†would not have fooled the feds anyway.

For charter schools, the whole scary episode should be a wake-up call. Here’s the practical reality:†running great public schools is just not enough.

Higher student achievement is not enough. Doing more with less is not enough. Tens of thousands of students on waiting lists is not enough. Study after study that debunk “creaming” is not enough. Support from every major newspaper is not enough.

Even a $700 million carrot dangled by the President of the United States is not enough.

It†should†be enough to deliver educational excellence, but grassroots political involvement is now a necessity. With budget season approaching and the cap still in place, the entire charter school community needs to get involved as never before. For one thing, we need to have a record-breaking Advocacy Day in Albany on February 2.

Contact Jeff Maclin to add voices from your school.

Enough is enough.