Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Open letter to AM Gottfried re charter school cap

Dear Assemblymember Gottfried:

I just received a big glossy flier that I assumed was from your office trumpeting the lifting of the charter cap. When I looked more closely, I saw that it was paid for by Education Reform Now.

I am a constituent and have appreciated your work on many fronts. But I'm upset to see that you're in bed with a cabal of hedge fund multi-millionaires masquerading as education reformers.

What is their interest in education? What spoils do they hope to reap? Contracts for testing and data? Real estate tax deals? When they thank you for "giving New York the opportunity to win $700 million in federal aid for our kids" I can almost see them salivating at the prospect of getting their mitts on those millions. And of course that will be much easier for them to do when schools are no longer subject to public school oversight.

It is NOT true, as the flier claims that "These schools are proven to work, with higher test scores and graduation rates." I trust you know as well as I do that charter schools cherry pick their students, taking only students who have AND MAINTAIN high test scores, that they don't educate ELLs, and that the tests results have been manipulated beyond meaning.

I've been a NYC public school parent for 10 years, and it sickens me to see these "re-formers" work so stealthily to systematically dismantle our public school system. It sickens me to see them demonize hard-working teachers who actually know something about education and care about our city's students.

Why are you in bed with them?

Sincerely, Jan Carr

A list of NY State elected officials who have received the largest contributions from the charter school lobby is posted at Albany Citizen One, though Gottfried's name is not among them -- yet.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jan.

There's another element that charters regularly (but naturally) get out of dealing with, students from slightly-to-highly dysfunctional families with antagonistic attitudes toward systems, institutions and authority. These sorts of students often avoid highly structured environments and seek out the comfort of low-key, soft-edged normalcy. Soon, however, complications of passive and assertive resistance often ensue. Private schools deal with these students by expulsion and threats to expel. TPS's have no recourse unless the behaviors become extreme.

Richard N. Gottfried said...

I am appalled about the “Education Reform Now” mailing, because it utterly misrepresents my position.

I do not support charter schools, and have spoken out frequently against them. I support a long list of proposals to rein them in, make them treat teachers and students more fairly, provide transparency, prevent crowding out public schools, etc. etc. I voted for the charter school bill because it includes many of those important changes. For me, the part of the bill that increased the limit on the number of charter schools was a regrettable price to pay for the valuable parts of the bill. I felt we were destined to lose the fight to keep the number down anyway.

The “Education Reform Now” people supported the bill for the opposite reason. I understand they have sent out these dishonest mailings in the districts of many legislators who voted for the bill for the reasons I did.

I have been an adamant supporter of public elementary, secondary and higher education and public employees since I began having organized political thoughts (at about age 12). My mother is a retired NYC school teacher and a member of the teacher’s union since the early 1950s. I am a long-time vehement opponent of vouchers, charter schools, and all the efforts to undermine public education and public employees.

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

Anonymous said...

You are crazy.