Finally shred the New York City charter-school Cap

James Merriman:

This month, New York State approved 17 new city charter schools to open over the next few years. Sadly, they could be among the last.

Sometime in 2015, New York State will have to stop approving new charters. That’s not because these schools haven’t proven themselves (their achievement often far exceeds that of the districts they reside in). It’s not because there isn’t enough demand (50,000 families are on waitlists).

Rather, it’s because state law currently caps the number of charters allowed to open, and we’ve almost reached the limit.

Putting the brakes on a wildly successful education strategy is bad policy. It’s terrible for the city’s kids, thousands of whom will be denied schools that have shown they can close the achievement gap in some of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

There is an obvious answer: Simply eliminate this arbitrary and artificial barrier to creating more great public schools. After all, we’ve already twice raised the number of charter schools that can be opened in New York City, from 100 to 200 in 2007 and then again by another 114 in 2010.