It's about great public schools.

NYSUT Does the Right Thing

Publication Date: 
Friday, April 9, 2010

When NYSUT is right, we should say so. Today is one of those times. Recently, both the State Senate and Assembly’s budget resolutions called for defunding SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute, the entity responsible for overseeing a little less than half of all charter schools statewide.

There is, of course, a gaping contradiction between calling for more oversight of charter schools and greater accountability and defunding the regulatory agency charged with that task.nysut

nysutPresident of NYSUT, Dick Iannuzzi recognized that. In a statement to Gotham Schools, Mr. Iannuzzi made clear that NYSUT did not propose such cuts and does not support them.

It would have been easy for NYSUT to stay silent, knowing that if the cuts went through and oversight were reduced, it would result in bad news stories for charter schools. After all, charter schools are run by humans who are as prone to human shortcoming as everything else. But that strategy of giving ëem enough rope to hang themselves would have been bad for the state and for the children that charter schools serve. NYSUT, commendably, didn’t take that tack.

It makes me wonder if we don’t agree on more than we think around accountability. Because charter proponents in the main (certainly this one), don’t mind oversight, accountability and monitoring. In fact, we welcome it, knowing that it is essential for the health of charter schools and good public schools generally.

It seems we should be spending more time together: advocates, school leaders, the unions, legislative staff and the authorizers figuring this outónot just for charters but for all public schools.

We are all to blame that we aren’t.