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Teachers Say NY is "Charting the Course" Too Fast

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 By Charles Lane/Craig Eicher, Contact
March 7, 2007

Many of New York's top teachers and school superintendents think some extra study time is needed when it comes to Governor Spitzer's plan to add 150 new charter schools statewide. Robert Lowry, deputy director with the Superintendent's Council, says the total number of proposed schools is too high to properly scrutinize, and he thinks the risk of charter failure will rise.

"The Jump from 100 to 150 just seems like such a big jump that it doesn't do enough to encourage prioritization and careful review."

Lowry adds, when charters fail, public schools have to make room for the extra students. That is after the public schools budgets were cut when the charter schools opened.

New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi says, even though many think charter schools mean "choice," parents might be surprised about what they give up with that "choice."

"Taxpayers have always been able to vote on how those dollars are spent. They have no say about the charter school. New York charter schools have to prove success every five years, or they are shut down, and that has happened."

Governor Spitzer says he wants to increase the number of charter schools to give parents more choice and let the "market" improve the educational system.

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