Way back when Bloomberg finally killed the Board of Education and replaced it with the Department of Education we had high hopes for our city's schools. Finally, we imagined, the city was in a position to cut back on the bureaucracy that plagues the system. One part of that hope was founded on the introduction of public charter schools into the mix. And so we were in agreement with Chancellor Klein, who we've had a lot of problems with otherwise, when he started pushing last year to lift the arbitrary 100 charter cap in the city.
We still think that the cap should be lifted, but after reading today's Daily News we'd be just as happy if the cap could even be reached. Last year the city hit its 100 charter school limit which means that no new charter schools can be opened in New York for the foreseeable future. But that is only half of it. While it is technically true that 100 charters have been given out, eight of those charters are no longer or will never be used.
The eight charters all had been issued previously to groups on a limited trial run and were then revoked when the schools failed to perform well or never opened. But state law now prohibits the coveted charters from being reused by the Board of Regents.
"There is no process at the time, that I know of, to fill those slots," said Philip Parr, the regional director for Imagine Schools. "I don't know why though, if they're saying by law they could have 100 charters."
Uhm, boo? There is far too much promise in the charter programs for it to be held back on such technicalities. We'll buy that charter schools are still an experiment and need to be capped, fine. But it is absurd to make it nearly impossible to even fill out the cap.