Tag Archives: charter schools

Tax Cut Extender: Boon to Charter Schools

Illustration: FRBSF

Charter schools are among the big winners in the tax cut extender deal signed into law on December 17 by President Barack Obama.

Section 733 of H.R. 4853 provides for an additional $7 Billion in 2010/2011 New Market Tax Credits, an economic development program created in 2000 during the Clinton Administration.

So-called Community Development Entities can apply for these tax credits on behalf of non-profits such as charter schools, and package them for wealthy investors who use the credits to reduce their own IRS obligations. To someone in the highest tax bracket, the after-tax equivalent return on such an investment can be about 10-12% per year, with minimal risk. Continue reading

Close ’em Down!

Sometimes it’s easy to tell a story. Here are the first two items in the October 29th “Rise & Shine” story listing on the education blog GothamSchools.org.

* SUNY wants to try fixing failing charter schools instead of shutting them down. (Post)

* The city says it is considering closing up to 47 schools this year. (GS, Times, PostWSJ, NY1)

And they say that Albany is dysfunctional?

Lipstick on a Pig

Source: NYC DOE

We like standardized tests almost as much as Bloomberg and Klein do, so we’ll give you a multiple choice quiz:

Question 1: Which of the following headlines — all triggered by the same Department of Education school ratings press release — is the most attention-grabbing?

(a) “Schools Get Report Cards From City Education Dept.”
(b) “With Standards Tightened, Far Fewer New York City Schools Receive a Grade of ‘A’”
(c) “Just 5% of city’s elementary/middle schools got Ds and Fs this year in new progress reports”
(d) “Progress Absent at Most Schools”
(e) “Grade shock: Regular schools top charters” Continue reading

Why Wait for Superman?

This is not about “Waiting for Superman,” Davis Guggenheim’s heavily hyped new documentary, which examines the success of Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone and the KIPP charter schools, and asserts that reform efforts to improve public education are being actively resisted by America’s teachers unions.

No, this is about film critics for the New York Times, the Daily News, and the NY Post using their editorial platforms to inject calumny into an already-difficult national dialogue, where they are impeding the very reforms they seek. Continue reading

Charter Schools: Public or Private?

A couple of months ago, the MTA shut down Brooklyn’s B23 bus route, which had served the Kensington and Ditmas Park neighborhoods for decades. Replacing it will be city-sanctioned “dollar vans,” operated by Sunset Transportation Service, Inc.

The B23 story is an example of the privatization of government services that’s happening throughout the United States — a series of decisions by local governments to substitute private companies for public employees to deliver essential services. Continue reading

NY Media Ignore Major Charter School Study

For reasons we can’t explain, a June 29, 2010 study that showed “on average, charter schools had no significant impacts on student achievement in math and reading” drew zero attention from New York media — including education blogs.

The 15-state, 36-school study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by the prestigious Princeton-based Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., was announced one day after the New York State Senate passed legislation raising the state’s charter school cap from 200 to 460 — a result of a months-long lobbying campaign by charter advocates.

Until the legislature’s approval, New Yorkers had been bombarded by TV commercials, print ads, and editorials and op-ed pieces in the Daily News, the Post, and the NY Times — all urging legislators to lift the charter cap to improve New York’s chance to win Federal funding in Round 2 of Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s school reform incentive program.

But critics suggested that the RttT eligibility goal was just cover for a well-funded opinion campaign aimed at pressuring legislators to increase the number of charter schools. Ultimately, the legislation incorporated several limitations, including a stipulation that new charters may not be operated by for-profit companies. Continue reading

What Happens When a Charter School Arrives

Do charter schools raise educational standards? The schools’ proponents say that charters educate more effectively than traditional public schools, and even those that don’t, still create a competitive environment in which traditional public schools are “incentivized” to improve their own teaching methods. Can this logic be disputed?

The pro-charter school argument ignores that charters can hurt overall educational progress by undermining nearby traditional public schools. Charters’ aggressive marketing efforts can force TPSs to expand their own publicity campaigns, diverting money and time that otherwise would have gone to support instruction. A charter’s arrival in a neighborhood also can demoralize a public school’s leadership and parents, who view the interloper as a competitor for space and dollar resources and community support. But it is outside the schoolhouse walls that charters may do their most lasting damage, if they create or exacerbate social divisions in the community. How this plays out depends on the neighborhood, and the quality of its traditional public school. Continue reading