A new study examining one of Chancellor Joel Klein's central reforms, as well as similar efforts in three other cities, calls the changes promising but says that the work is too incomplete to draw a conclusive answer on its effects.
The paper, released by the University of Washington-based Center on Reinventing Public Education, is the interim report of a longer study on school district restructuring efforts in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and New Orleans. These four cities are all in various stages of putting into place what the authors call a "portfolio school district." In these districts, control over budgets, hiring and curriculum are controlled by individual schools, rather than by the central school administration.
Mayor Bloomberg called for eliminating the state cap on charter schools today and said he would raise millions of dollars for school facilities if he remains in office for a third term.
Citing the recent study by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, the mayor declared the city's charter schools an indisputable success and said he would open 100 more. "I strongly support charter schools for one simple reason: they work," he said at a campaign event held at the city's first charter school, Sisulu-Walker, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary today.
I'll have more on what the mayor said, and what others think of it later in the day, but here are the major proposals:
Eliminating the charter cap: This, like a third of the mayor's charter school expansion proposals, would require approval from the mercurial state legislature. In 2005, the mayor tried and failed to get rid of the cap, but did manage to get it raised to 200 schools in 2007. Asked what's different this time around, charter school advocates say the environment has changed. The state has nearly reached the allowable charter school limit and there's pressure from the federal government and like Race to the Top to remove the cap.
Council Member John Liu said he credits the UFT with helping him enter a runoff in the comptroller race.
Winners in yesterday's primary elections dropped in on a UFT Delegate Assembly this afternoon, where I am hanging out, waiting for the contract negotiation news.
Council Members Bill de Blasio and John Liu, who are both heading into runoffs in their respective races, for public advocate and comptroller, dropped by, as did Daniel Dromm, the teacher who is running for City Council in Queens. Dromm defeated Helen Sears, a sitting Council member, in yesterday's primary.
Liu told me that he owes the teachers union for his victory yesterday. "Teachers have a massive impact. They have delivered in ways I could never have expected," he said.