As the infection rate starts to tick up again, the race to get shots into arms must outpace the pandemic and its variants. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said we’re at the corner, but haven’t turned it yet. The state must be ready for the sprint to the finish line.
New York State law limits to 460 the total number of charter schools, which are free public schools that are independently run and funded by tax dollars. But whether that number, set more than a decade ago, is too low or too high, no one knows because of a barrier written into the law that separates the five boroughs of New York City from the other 57 counties of the state. That nonsensical wall must be torn down.
Even though all of these schools must meet the same academic standards set by the state Education Department and the Board of Regents, and even though their charters to operate are issued either by the Department or the Trustees of the State University, both statewide entities, New York City is treated differently.
Some charter schools are excellent at educating children, while others aren’t and are properly shut down. New York is fortunate that the number of failures has been small. But due to a foolish restriction written into law, when a charter school closes down, that slot cannot be re-issued to a new school that may prosper. Thus even though the failed school is dead, its charter lives on with no students, no teachers, no buildings (or even Zoom sessions) and no funding, giving them the name of zombie charters.