Last Friday, shortly after the State Senate and Assembly passed charter cap legislation which included key reforms, Peter Murphy of the charter management New York Charter School Association was condemning the law in the most unequivocal terms. “This bill is a big step backward,” Murphy told the New York Times, “and worse than doing no bill.” Right behind him, Nelson Smith of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, was declaring that
The bill they’ve just approved slowly increases the number of charter schools but puts serious brakes on New York City growth; invites intrusive and redundant audits by the state comptroller; forbids for-profit operators (no matter their track record) from managing any new schools; and adds a patchwork of new provisions, grounded in specious, union-provided non-data, requiring charter schools to resemble the demographics of surrounding districts. It’s unclear what it will do to the actual chartering authority of New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, or his counterparts at SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute.
Why this remarkable about face? Could it be that if the blunt honesty of the original reactions was widely recognized, the Wall Street hedge fund operators which financed the multi-million dollar campaign to win a charter cap increase without any real reform might feel that their money was not well-spent? Have to keep that Wal-Mart spigot flowing, after all.