Education groups spend millions lobbying for NY charter schools

According to the New York Daily News, two education groups in New York have spent millions lobbying lawmakers to “lift the charter school cap and allow for the creation of more of the publicly funded, privately run schools.”

Families for Excellent Schools and The Coalition for Opportunity in Education have dispersed at least $13 million for lobbying purposes on charter schools. The Daily News further reports that the combined money from the aforementioned groups, along with money from other organizations, set a lobbying record in the state of New York last year.

While the money being spent for lobbying isn’t anything new, varied coalitions and groups have done so for decades, doing it for charter schools is a new phenomenon. Charter schools are sprouting up nationwide, at least in states that allow them, and are being billed as an alternative to traditional public education.

Some do well and are heralded as industry standards while others shutdown quickly and leave students stuck in the middle of the school year.

New York has a new education commissioner in MaryEllen Elia, who before being fired from her post as superintendent for Hillsborough County schools in Florida, faced criticism for her want to close three charter schools in the area.

While Elia will set policy from an administrative level, she’s not the decision maker when it comes to lifting the cap on charter schools in the state.

This battle will likely come to a head eventually, and hopefully students aren’t the ones on the losing end.

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