Deal or no deal?

New York charter advocates celebrated victory this week over the raising of “the cap”: 260 additional schools may now open in the Empire State. But the higher ceiling came with strings. Some are not too burdensome, such as requiring that, when charters and traditional schools share space, any renovations over $5,000 to the charter facilities include comparable updates to the traditional school. But others will be a lift—or are just plain unreasonable—like opening the door to state comptroller audits of individual schools, ordering that charters mimic the demographic makeup of nearby traditional schools, and banning for-profit operators. To wit, early reactions to the changes from the charter world were wary, though those same folks are now more positive after a few last-minute poison pills were dropped from the final law. The nearly 40,000 students on NYC charter waiting lists are surely the beneficiaries here, but their gain came at a hefty price.

New York State Votes to Expand Charter Schools,” by Jennifer Medina, New York Times, May 28, 2010

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