Yesterday, while watching the NC Senate committee discussing the proposed committee substitute for Senate Bill 8 “No Cap on Number of Charter Schools” it became clear that the Democratic members of the committee have not come to the realization that they are no longer in charge. They also, by their inaction over the last couple of years on Charters, have forfeited the ability to influence this legislation. A number of senators commented on what they wanted to see in the legislation. If last year (or any year before) they had taken modest steps to expand charter availability they could have put their “wants” into the legislation and in all likelihood we would not be seeing the debate play out the way it will play out.
We will see the cap removed on charters, we will see charters given the independence they need to flourish and we will see traditional schools look more seriously at the charter model for failing schools. What we will not see, much to the chagrin of the teacher unions and education bureaucracy, is the loading down of charters with rules and regulations to make them look exactly like the traditional schools that have been failing a lot of the public that now looks to charters as an alternative for their children.
This is a lesson for all legislators. If you want to have a say in what happens, you have to act while you have an ability to influence legislation.