The Obama administration, through its “Race to the Top” competition, is giving away over $4 billion to states that most impressively reform their education systems through initiatives like increasing charter schools and basing tenure partly on student test scores. New York could potentially win up to $700 million of this sweet learning money … but things aren’t looking good. Last night Democrats in the Senate and Assembly refused to vote on legislation supported by Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg that would cap charter schools at 460, up from 200 currently.
With the “Race to the Top” application deadline now only hours away, Democratic leaders, with the support of the state teacher’s union, prefer a bill that would double city charter schools at 400, and, more controversially, transfer control over their approval from the school’s chancellor to the the Board of Regents, which is appointed by Assembly Democrats. Such restrictions would, allegedly, actually hinder the creation of charter schools, which is obviously not something that will impress the “Race to the Top” overlords. It may, however, give New York a good shot at the less lucrative “Drag Your Feet to the Middle” competition.