March 14, 2019

There is a political war being waged over charter schools and a survey and recent article by Jay Greene and Frederick Hess in EducationNext has something fascinating to say about it. There’s been some quibbling about the survey methodology, which is based on campaign donations made by employees of organizations that received grants from the Gates and Walton foundations. And it’s been pointed out that the current administration is so toxic that donations to Democrats in the 2018 midterms may not indicate meaningful bias towards anything other th...

February 18, 2019

Mario Cuomo famously said “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.” That was, however, in a kinder age that appreciated nuance. Yesterday I woke up in a cold sweat muttering: You campaign in fear of the “other”; you govern in a state of emergency. But let’s not go there today. Let’s instead summon our inner Mario and take solace in some recent activity in two states out West where a more salutary political paradigm has taken hold, at least with respect to charter school policy. Something akin to: You campaign in sound bytes; you govern in...

December 3, 2018

In the space of six weeks, two major environmental reports were released, first by a UN scientific panel and then by 13 US Federal government agencies, detailing near-term catastrophic consequences of human-caused climate change. And if we, obtuse organisms that we are, need any object lessons as to what this means and what may be in store, the past year has brought us a plague of monster hurricanes and typhoons, 500-year floods, wildfires, red tides and whales washing ashore with mounds of plastic in their poor dead bellies.

Sixty years ago, th...

In 1991, I abandoned a bucolic life upstate to take a job as a science editor at Scholastic. The energy jolt of coming to the city had an immediate and lasting effect, and in the 27 years since my wife and I moved to Queens, I've founded three businesses, two nonprofit organizations and, most consequentially, two charter schools that are focused on what we used to call the "liberal arts."

These two schools — Our World Neighborhood Charter School in LIC and Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside — are my most gratifying adventures as an e...

November 20, 2018

To the Editor:

“Blue Wave May Be Charter Schools’ Black Cloud” (front page, Nov. 10) does an excellent job of sketching the charter school political landscape and has laid bare the conundrum that many of us in the charter movement are facing.

The great majority of the educators we work with are progressive, and their independently managed schools mirror that progressivism in their pedagogy and community interactions. I helped found two such schools in western Queens, and I know how fortunate my neighbors feel to have their children attend them.


October 29, 2018

A few weeks ago I got a plaintive text from a friend saying he was looking forward to the time when we would no longer be celebrating the anniversary of something awful that happened 50 years ago. It was hard to read that without experiencing a flashback. 1968 is seared into my memory, coming of age in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the beating of protestors at the Democratic Convention in Chicago and then a presidential election in which millions of Americans shrugged because the political process looke...

September 24, 2018

Participating in events like our Virtual Conference in real time is a real 21st century treat. How often do we get the chance—in the space of two hours— to step into classrooms in Ohio, California, Maine, Minnesota and Utah and talk with charter school founders in Alabama, New Mexico, Florida, New York and Arizona? And how often do we get to navigate these journeys under the experienced guidance of journalists like John Merrowand educators like Debbie Meier?

Not too often.

Oh—did you miss it? Well, despair not because it is all...

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