A recent article in the Democrat and Chronicle updates efforts by those for and against mayoral control of the Rochester City Schools. What has been left out of the debate is that mayoral control is likely to lead to a doubling or tripling of charter schools. New York State lawmakers, as part of the application requirement for Race To The Top funding, recently raised the cap on the number of charter schools in the state from 200 to 460. Further, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate with Rochester’s Mayor Duffy as his running mate, is working closely with wealthy financiers to more than double the number of charter schools (Gabriel & Medina, 2010). Given Cuomo’s support for privatizing public education, one might assume that Duffy hoped all along that if he could take over the city schools, he would convert many of them to charter schools. Further, Duffy continually states that he has complete faith in Rochester’s School Superintendent, Jean-Claude Brizard, who, not surprisingly, said this week: “I’m a big fan of charter schools” (Macaluso, 2010, p. 5).
Whether one agrees or not with the notion of charter schools (while there are a few good schools, I am against privatizing public education), we should debate this. The Cuomo-Duffy-Brizard administration will certainly push for vastly increasing the number of charter schools in Rochester and the state.