New York politicians maneuver to support charter schools
A letter from New York State Senate leader John Flanagan, a Republican, to Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has drawn attention to the continued maneuvers within the political establishment to promote corporate interests in education.
The communication, dated June 20 but only made public by the New York Times nearly two months later, reveals that charter school advocates were able to have last-minute changes made to education legislation, under which they are now seeking a waiver from school district regulations for these publicly funded but privately-managed schools.
Flanagan urged Cuomo to have the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute (SUNY-CSI) exempt charter schools that establish pre-k (pre-kindergarten) classes from local New York City regulations.
The Governor appoints a majority of the SUNY trustees, giving him effective control over the Charter Schools Institute. Based on his past support for privatizing public education there is every indication that Cuomo will agree with Flanagan.
Legislation was passed in 2015 by a strong bi-partisan vote that allowed charter networks to seek authorization to set up new schools through a more charter-friendly SUNY-CSI in preference to the State Board of Regents. Neither the CSI nor the Board has slowed the proliferation of charter schools.
The 2015 legislation also doubled the limit on new charter schools to be opened from 25 to 50 in New York City, above the existing 183 city charters, as well as increased the number of non-certified teachers that charters may hire.
A few hours before the state legislature ended its session in June, a vague provision was added by the Republican-controlled Senate leadership that New York politicians maneuver to support charter schools - World Socialist Web Site: