charter schools

 Not for the first time, blue state Massachusetts is in the midst of a Republican administration.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti, director of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about Governor Baker’s first year in office.


A campaign to lift an enrollment cap on charter schools in Massachusetts is building momentum that could lead to a showdown vote on Election Day 2016.

About a dozen people wearing blue T-shirts that read “Great Schools Now” held a noontime rally in downtown Springfield Monday to call for lifting the charter school cap that they claim is arbitrarily denying children in poor communities a chance at a good education.

  When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children.

Dale Russakoff explores all of the ins-and-outs in her book, The Prize: Who's In Charge Of America's Schools?

  Some legal developments regarding charter schools and common core.

The state attorney general's office has asked a Supreme Court judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging New York's formulas for charter school funding. A group of parents filed the challenge, claiming the formulas discriminate against charters in favor of traditional public schools. The judge did not issue an immediate decision.

SUNY trustees voted Friday to close two Brighter Choice Charter Middle Schools in Albany. The boys and girls schools have been instructed to finish out the current school year and close in June.

The public meeting began at 10 a.m.- the Brighter Choice three-year charter renewal requests were the last items on a lenghty committee agenda.

The State University of New York Charter Schools Committee heard presentations from both Brighter Choice and the SUNY Charter Schools Institute as to why and why not middle schools should remain open.

It was the charter schools’ turn to rally at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to allow 100 more charter schools in New York.

Thousands of charter school students on 450 buses, along with their parents and teachers, came to the Capitol for a rally that was billed by organizers as a school field trip.  They heard nearly two hours of speeches, watched dance performances, and saw celebrities like Grammy winning singer Ashanti.

Among the speakers, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Parents and community members are set to join faculty, staff and students at the Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School Wednesday morning to cut a ribbon on the school’s expansion.

Ark Charter School

  Education will be a big issue in 2015, with lines already drawn between teachers at public schools, and Governor Andrew Cuomo and the charter school movement.

Before the New Year even began, the state’s largest teachers union was already making its displeasure with Governor Andrew Cuomo known, by protesting outside the governor’s mansion.

New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee says teachers are angry over what they see as Governor Cuomo’s increasingly negative view of their union, and the public education system in general.  

Ark Charter School

Charter school advocates want New York to re-write the formula used to fund its public charter schools.  A lawsuit filed in Buffalo Tuesday says the current formula is unconstitutional and that the state is falling short of its obligation to provide every student with a sound basic education.

The state Supreme Court lawsuit names the state of New York, along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Assembly, Senate, budget office, Board of Regents and education commissioner.

DennisInAmsterdam's photostream Flickr

The charter school business is booming in New York's Capital City, with 2,200 students are enrolled in nine publicly financed, privately operated charter schools in Albany. Five charter schools have filed applications that will be up for public comment Thursday.

The City School District of Albany has scheduled a public hearing Thursday at William S. Hackett Middle School at 6 p.m. to hear public comment on the applications, including one proposal that would create a new 400-student charter elementary school in Albany.