This post first appeared on Diane Ravitch’s blog.
The following just in as the New York State Legislature responds to the pressure of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign demanding free space for privately-managed charters. Also, the billionaires behind this ad campaign have given handsome sums to Governor Cuomo and other key politicians.
Cuomo has received at least $800,000 from the charter advocates. Under the legislation, the charters are given the right to expand as much as they want, without paying rent, pushing out the public school that once was sited in the building. The charters can afford to pay their CEO half a million dollars, but they can’t pay the rent. They can pay millions for attack ads on television, but they can’t pay the rent.
They can hire the politically-hot public relations firm SDK Knickerbocker for more than $500,000 a year, but they can’t pay the rent. Their biggest boosters are billionaires, like Paul Tudor Jones, whose Robin Hood Foundation raises $80 million in a single night, but the charters can’t pay the rent. The charters are proving to be public parasites in New York City, invading the host and doing harm to the 94 percent of children who are not in charters.
One more point: When the Common Core tests were given a year ago, students in charter schools got the same average scores as students in public schools, even though the charters have few if any students with severe disabilities (and the public schools in poor neighborhoods have nearly 15 percent), and the charters typically have half as many English language learners. There were a few high-flying charter schools, but even more high-flying public schools. On average, there was no difference between the public schools and the charter schools.
See more reaction from Diane Ravitch on the legislation.