John Liu’s stealth attack on high-quality public schools


In a stealth bid to strangle the charter-school sector, state Sen. John Liu is offering a bill that would remove the SUNY Trustees’ right to grant or renew charters, giving the state Board of Regents ultimate power.

Insiders like the Queens Democrat know perfectly well that the Regents are a creature of the teachers unions, which despise charters because these alternative public schools expose the failings of the regular public systems that serve the unions so well.

Crucially, charters prove that ZIP code doesn’t have to be destiny, by helping kids from low-income, mostly minority neighborhoods become top scholars — a challenge the regular system has largely given up on.

Knowing that the Regents (who are effectively chosen by the Assembly speaker, near-inevitably a Democrat beholden to the unions) could stifle charters, then-Gov. George Pataki insisted on giving the SUNY Board of Trustees equal power to grant charters in the landmark 1998 law that allowed them.

The division of power has served New York well: Even Liu doesn’t point to charters that shouldn’t exist because they fail the kids; he merely claims the SUNY board has violated some procedural rules, charging it with “failing to consider the large concentration of charter schools in certain districts.”

Yes: Charters overwhelmingly seek to open in districts where the regular schools have given up. What’s wrong with that, senator?

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