Charter Schools: A Skeptical Look

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In his third term, Mayor Bloomberg is increasingly showing his true colors. Nowhere is this more evident than in his advocacy of charter schools. Bloomberg has constantly pushed for more charter schools, and unsuccessfully lobbied for the state to raise the cap on the number of charter schools that are permitted.

On the surface, charter schools seem like a good idea. At least in most cases, they are established in areas where “regular” schools have performed poorly for years. Charter schools are operated by many types of organizations with many different orientations. But many tend to espouse a “boot camp” type of ideology, offering long days, lots of homework, intense studying, and tests, tests, tests. Among some kids, this can produce results. But it may cause other kids and parents to transfer out.

Even if charter schools are the greatest thing in the world, there’s no excuse for the preferential treatment they get from the city. This newspaper has detailed how charter schools are shoehorned into buildings housing “regular” schools. In almost every case, the non-charter school loses something, whether a library, a lunchroom, or something else. In one example detailed by Eagle writer Mary Frost, one charter school paid to have its lighting ballasts, which contained dangerous compounds, removed from its portion of a school building– while the hazardous ballasts still remained in other parts of the building.

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