One month into 2013, Maria Uruchima has already used up almost all of her sick and personal days getting her son to school.
On the verge of pulling him out of school, she found a partial solution to scheduling nightmare created by the bus strike — but one that still leaves her missing work and commuting almost four hours each day.
“I’ve started writing letters to the chancellor and the mayor saying, this is my situation,” Uruchima said. “I’m one of those parents that’s really struggling. I can’t afford to keep my son home because you guys aren’t getting it together. What can I do to help move this process along?”
Before the strike began two weeks ago, her son Alejandro’s bus picked him up from their home in Corona, Queens, at 6:40 a.m to take him to P.S./I.S. 49 in Middle Village. His 10- and 13-year-old siblings walked to school in the neighborhood, and his three-year-old sister spent the day with her grandmother. That gave Uruchima, who works in nonprofit management, plenty of time to get to her job in Brooklyn by 8:30 a.m.
Now, with most yellow buses off the streets because of a labor dispute between bus companies and drivers, Uruchima must accompany Alejandro to and from school. He has a learning disability and cannot take public transportation alone. All together, Uruchima’s round-trip commute takes eight buses and four trains, and she has been spending nearly half her workday in transit, using personal and sick time to make up for the lost hours. But those days are running out.
Here’s the route they’ve taken daily since the strike began:
Together, Uruchima and Alejandro take the 7:10 a.m. bus. When the bus is late, Uruchima says, Alejandro misses part of the morning tutoring program that helps him keep up in his classes.
They transfer twice and arrive at school by 8 a.m.
Uruchima takes a bus and two subways to get to work in Brooklyn by 9:15 a.m., then does the same commute in reverse, leaving work at 1:45 p.m. to make it to P.S./I.S. 49 by 3 p.m. She and Alejandro take three buses home.
Uruchima has been searching for a solution since day one of the strike, knowing that if it continued, she would be stuck between two bad options: putting her job in jeopardy and keeping her son out of school.
Uruchima brought Alejandro to school in a cab for the first few days of the strike, but it was a strain to front the money and wait to be reimbursed by the Department of Education. More than a week into the strike, the department rolled out a plan to help parents bill the cost directly to the city, but accessing that option brings its own complications, so Uruchima stuck with the bus.
If she could pick up Alejandro just a few hours later, she thought, she might be able to make things work. That would let her spend more than four and a half hours a day in her office in between commutes. She asked the school’s parent coordinator if Alejandro could join the after-school program.
“At the end of this week, I will have used up my personal days,” Uruchima said on Tuesday. “What then? I have no idea. … I haven’t heard anything form the school at all. I’ve been the one reaching out to them, saying, what are the options you guys can provide me for him to stay there?”
For the first two weeks, Uruchima said, she was told that the school couldn’t put him in the after-school program because of uncertainty about how long the strike would last.
Uruchima was seriously considering having her son spend the day at home with his grandmother. In anticipation of absences due to the strike, schools across the city are posting material online, and Uruchima figured she could go through the materials with her son when she got back from work.
“Pretty much he would have to wait for me to come home to give him those instructions that they have online on the Department of Education,” she said.
Then, this morning, the school agreed to enroll Alejandro in an after-school program that lasts until 6 p.m. But that’s a band-aid solution reached by a creative parent and a single school. So while Alejandro’s attendance and his mother’s job are safe for now, but many other parents across the city whose children can’t travel on public transportation alone still face the lose-lose decision Uruchima did until today.
Alejandro’s school’s solution reflects the strategy the city is using at this point in the strike. As Chancellor Dennis Walcott wrote in a message to principals on Tuesday, “We have shifted from broad initial preparations to more tailored options for students disproportionately affected by the absence of bus service.”
Recognizing that many parents are still stuck, the special education advocacy community is ramping up pressure on Mayor Bloomberg to find a way to end the strike. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has called a press conference for Tuesday afternoon.
Uruchima counts herself lucky for her new schedule: She’ll leave at 7 a.m., get home at 8 p.m., and spend nearly four of the 13 hours in between commuting until the bus strike ends.
After Boys and Girls High School imposed tougher academic requirements for student-athletes in 2011, its perennially winning mens basketball team benched seven playersand exited the state tournament in the first round.
Now, the city is imposing academic and attendance standards for the 40,000 students who play school sports that are even more stringent than Boys and Girls’.
The Department of Education is officially alerting schools about the changes this week. But coaches, principals and athletic directors say they’ve known for months and are beginning to prepare for the tougher eligibility requirements, which could hobble many teams.
The changes follow new standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2011 and are meant to address lagging academic performance among many of the city’s marquee athletes, coaches say.
“There was a growing concern about the way we do business,” said Wings Academy Principal Wayne Cox, referring to the previous standards. “The new policies are saying you guys have gotten away with s— for a very long time.”
Currently, Public Sports Athletic League rules allow students to miss school once a week, take few academic courses, and fall off a four-year graduation track while still remaining eligible, and the league never looks at students’ grade point averages. That means a point guard on a basketball team could be eligible to play for four seasons but still fall eight credits shy of graduation at the end of his senior year.
“On a personal level, I felt that was a travesty,” said Susan Rossi, a PSAL official who helped convene an advisory committee to oversee changes to the standards.
The committee met three times over the course of about six months, said Cox, a former coach who was also a member. The group consisted of principals, athletic directors, guidance counselors, coaches, and even representatives from the U.S. Coaches Association, Rossi said.
They recommended standards that the city is putting into effect in September for all sports. Now, students will be able to play only if they are on track to graduate. They will have to be in school 90 percent of the time; take a full course load, including at least three courses in academic subjects; earn 10 credits a year; and maintain a 65 GPA.
“I definitely think it’s going to be a challenge for those students who don’t challenge themselves academically,” said Mike Beckles, nine-year coach of the varsity basketball team at South Shore Campus.
But he said he thought the new policies would ultimately work to boost student achievement. “There’s too many student-athletes who just want to play, to be eligible,” he said.
The new standards mark a rare reform to the PSAL under Mayor Bloomberg, who has overseen sweeping changes to almost all of his other education programs and infrastructure. It comes at a time when reforms are increasingly focused on preparing students to go to college — something that is no longer guaranteed with a high school diploma.
“I just think it’s meant to get kids to graduate,” said Benjamin Cardozo High School principal Gerald Martori. “We don’t have student athletes graduating. They finish their eligibility and then what happens?”
Still, it’s unclear how much of the directive came from the Department of Education, which controls the PSAL and has spent the last year tightening high school graduation and credit accumulation rules for all schools.
As of last month, a department spokeswoman said the department was still reviewing PSAL’s requirements. But Beckles and other coaches said they learned about the new standards in October. Athletic directors said they found out in December, when PSAL officials gave them a memo that told principals to begin informing their school community immediately.
“All of these new requirements will be go[ing] into effect in September 2013,” according to the memo, which GothamSchools obtained. “This means that principals must inform their Athletic Directors, Coaches, parents, and students as soon as possible.”
PSAL Executive Director Donald Douglas declined to comment about the new standards during a basketball tournament at Benjamin Cardozo High School last month. But coaches at the tournament said they expected the new standards to have a significant impact on high school sports next year. They warned that basketball, football, and baseball — sports that tend to attract black and Latino males, who post especially low graduation rates — are likely to take an extra hit.
“In the beginning it’s going to be difficult,” said Cheez Ezenekwe, a junior varsity basketball coach at Martin Van Buren High School. “Once people get used to it, it’ll be a good thing.”
“It might be a little surprise for people initially because even when [the principal] put it in place here at Boys and Girls, I think for coaches it was a little bit of a shock,” Ruth Lovelace, who coaches boys basketball, said today. “But after it was instituted, it’s just a way of life. You just have to try and get kids who it might be an issue for … the resources they need.”
PSAL’s new academic and attendance standards will be significantly steeper than the current ones:
This is how CPS officials envisioned the 28 community meetings on school closings taking place this month: First, a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation with details in each area, showing how many schools are underutilized and low-achieving, followed by the now-familiar refrain about CPS’ looming deficit and limited resources being spread too thin.
Finally, the crowd would disperse into breakout sessions to share with independent facilitators the strengths and weaknesses of their schools, plus suggestions about how to make the transitions to new schools less painful.
In reality, this is the scenario: A CPS official tells the throngs of people in attendance that public comment will start immediately and that each speaker will only have two minutes to speak. Then, for the next hour, parents, teachers, principals and even some children make impassioned pleas to keep their schools open.
At the end of the meeting at Olive-Harvey College on Wednesday, Chief of Schools Denise Little got up and tried to reassure the suspicious crowd that she was listening. She noted that she wanted the pictures that attendees from DuBois School brought, showing their dilapidated buildings, and said she will remember, among other things, that White Elementary is the only other school located in the area.
Eventually, the attendees reluctantly retreated into breakout sessions. The media is not allowed in these sessions, but, from interviews, it appears that people continued to make the case to keep their schools open and refused to broach the topic of transition.
Taquia Hylton, principal of West Pullman School, says people in her overflow breakout session told facilitators that they don’t see how they will get around safety issues, should they try to move students.
Each weekday morning, we search websites of various media, comb through RSS feeds and peruse Google alerts to bring you a roundup of the day’s top education headlines, in Colorado and across the country, by 8 a.m. If you’d like to suggest a story we’ve missed or a source we should add to the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week announced a new partnership between Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago-based startup The Starter League to provide new web development courses that will reach thousands of Chicago students at the city’s five Early College STEM high schools, the city’s Technology Magnet Cluster high schools, and the City Colleges.
The Starter League teaches beginners how to code, design, and ship web applications. (Press release)
SURPRISE, YOU'VE GOT SUPPLIES!: A hundred CPS teachers were each surprised at a South Side school on Thursday with $1,000 worth of school supplies by CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram and Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The teachers received paper, pens, pencils and a digital camera. The event was part of OfficeMax's A Day Made Better program. (CPS media advisory)
IN THE STATE
SECURITY UPGRADES: New security cameras, an advanced intercom system and panic buttons are part of the security upgrades coming to Glen Ellyn District 41's five schools. Officials said the improvements are not directly related to recent school shootings. (Daily Herald)
IN THE NATION
RACE TO THE TOP STRUGGLES: A majority of winners in the $4 billion Race to the Top competition are struggling with evaluation and data systems, the U.S. Education Department's second annual progress report on the program says. (Education Week)
In celebration of School Choice Week Tillie Elvrum, parent of Colorado Connections Academy high school student, says online school has been a lifesaver for her son and family.
Nine years ago, I became a school choice advocate. My son’s local school wasn’t meeting his academic needs and I knew that I had to find an alternative. After much research and deliberation as a family, we decided to enroll my son in a public online charter school. My son is now a sophomore and in his eighth year as a cyberschool student.
We have always loved the flexibility of cyberschooling. The ability for my son to work at his own pace has helped him to master concepts before moving onto other areas. The mobility allowed through cyberschooling has enabled us to visit many of the places he has studied over the years. What better way to learn about Gettysburg than to take our laptop and schoolbooks and visit the actual site?
After eight years of online school, my son is a true digital native. This virtual learning environment has even influenced his career aspirations: he plans to pursue a career in the video gaming industry. This career field is still emerging and ever-changing, and his online charter school can provide relevant experience for him that a traditional classroom just can’t match. At the same time, I know he’s being prepared academically for his future beyond high school. His online high school offers engineering design, video game design, and web design courses. Before he graduates he will have the opportunity to take 3D art, digital arts, and other cutting-edge technology courses. He’s learning skills and getting an inside peek into the technology that he will be using in the workforce of the future.
But my son’s classes are much more than electives – he also gets the foundational classes equally imperative to succeeding in the real world. These classes are all the more “real” because they are online. In this day and age, many of society’s planning and decision making take place on some sort of online platform – from email to multi-continent Skype calls. We do everything from checking our bank accounts and paying bills, to scheduling appointments, applying for college and jobs and buying groceries online.
My son recently finished a personal finance course where he learned everything from basic banking principles to how to manage a 401K and choose a healthcare plan. His experience was only enhanced by the fact that this was all taught through an online forum, thus mimicking how he will one day make decisions as an adult in the “real world.”
Additionally, the course that has had the most impact on my son was a career exploration class, where he was asked to investigate post high school education, vocational, and military options. He researched his career, where he would like to live, his lifestyle and ambitions for the future, and, accordingly, had to create a budget, all online. All of these “lessons” make future decision-making scenarios applicable to students in the here and now, thus demonstrating how digital learning provides education far beyond the classroom. This wasn’t just idle work – it was a wakeup call.
As I look back on the last eight years of our cyberschool journey, I am amazed at my son’s growth as a student and as a person. He has a love of learning and immense school pride. I am so grateful for the amazing teachers who have guided his way and the high quality curriculum that keeps him excited about learning. As we look to the final years of high school, I am excited to see where his cyberschool education takes him. It’s because of my son and his cyberschool journey that I will continue to work to promote and protect this important educational model for students to come.
A group of 10 Republican lawmakers has introduced a measure that would allow parents to petition the State Board of Education for conversion of struggling schools.
The “parent trigger” proposal introduced Thursday, House Bill 13-1172, is similar to a 2012 bill that passed the House but died in a Senate committee (see story).
But this year’s version comes with a twist – it also proposes to convert the state’s district and school rating categories to a system of A-F letter grades.
The trigger portion of the bill is fairly mild. It would allow parents of students at schools that have been tagged with the lowest ratings – “priority improvement” or “turnaround” – for two or more years to petition the state board to take action. The board could deny the petition, direct the local school board to act or defer a decision for a year.Capitol roundup
The state’s current accreditation law requires the state board to act on schools that have been listed in those two categories for five consecutive years. Such schools can be closed, converted to charters or otherwise converted. The system enters its fourth year next July, and the conversion clock is ticking louder for several schools around the state. (See this EdNews story about the latest district ratings and this article for details on school ratings.)
The current system assigns five rating categories to districts and four to schools. Both would be converted to letter grades by the bill.
Letter grades for schools are a touchy issue in education. Some education reformers and conservative lawmakers think they are easier for parents to understand and would generate more public pressure for improvements, while many educators resist them as simplistic and punitive.
In Colorado the business-related group Colorado Succeeds, along with other organizations, runs a shadow rating system that uses Department of Education data to put schools into a letter-grade system. (See Colorado School Grades.)
Medicaid vs. educationLast year’s parent trigger bill – without the A-F grades – had a prominent Democratic sponsor – Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver and a leading education reform voice. This year’s bill currently has only Republicans backing it. The prime sponsors are GOP Rep. Kevin Priola of Henderson and Sen. Scott Renfroe of Greeley.Medicaid vs. education
Many Republican lawmakers don’t like “Obamacare,” including its expansion of the Medicaid program. They’re concerned that in the years ahead the state could find itself picking up the tab for that expansion, putting the squeeze on other state programs such as education. Expansion critics are unhappy with Gov. John Hickenlooper’s announcement earlier this month that Colorado would participate in Medicaid expansion. (See this Associated Press story for details.)
Republicans have expressed their dissatisfaction by introducing two bills.
The first, Senate Bill 13-006, would have banned state spending on Medicaid expansion if that caused a reduction of K-12 spending.
Sen. David Balmer, R-Centennial, made his best pitch Thursday to the Senate Education Committee, but the outcome wasn’t in doubt. The panel’s Democratic majority killed the bill on a 5-4 vote.
“I appreciate the spirit in which you brought this,” Johnston told Balmer. “I think this bill is really a debate about Medicaid rather than education. … I feel like this bill is asking us to hit a nail with a saw.”
“Sorry you didn’t have the happiest outcome, but we had a nice conversation,” committee chair Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, said to Balmer after his bill was “postponed indefinitely,” to use the the legislative term for what happened.
As it happened, another Medicaid-education bill was introduced on Thursday, but it would take a different bite of the apple.
House Bill 13-1175 would ban any state spending on Medicaid expansion until state support of higher education reaches $747 million a year. It’s currently about $513 million, plus another $100 million for financial aid. The bill’s sole sponsor is Rep. Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland.Speaking of trying again
Also introduced Thursday was House Bill 13-1176, a Republican-sponsored measure that would allow income tax credits for private school tuition and for donations to private school scholarships.
If this sounds familiar, you’re thinking of Senate Bill 13-069, which was introduced earlier this month and proposes the same thing.
Duplicate bills are introduced periodically, usual by minority party members who know their original proposal will be killed but who want to at least have the debate in both houses, even though they know the second version of the bill also is doomed. Legislative procedures require that every bill get at least one committee hearing.
Another clone bill was introduced Wednesday. House Bill 13-1170 would allow individual school boards to decide whether to have staff members carry guns at school, if those employees hold concealed-carry permits. The Senate Judiciary Committee killed Senate Bill 13-009, the original version of that idea, on Monday (see story).
The city’s school board, used as a rubber stamp for mayoral proposals since 2002, would gain independence under a plan put forward today by Comptroller John Liu.
The plan makes Liu the first of the likely candidates for mayor to propose specific changes to the board, known since 2002 as the Panel for Educational Policy. Any changes would require the approval of the state legislature, which is next set to consider New York City’s school governance in 2015, to become permanent, but a new mayor could take some of the steps immediately upon taking office.
Whether and how to reform the panel is one of the stickiest questions that mayoral candidates face on education.
On the one hand, changing its structure would mean diminishing the mayor’s authority over the city’s schools. On the other, ceding some control would send a powerful signal that the new mayor intends to include parents and community members in decision-making about schools, something the Bloomberg administration has drawn fire for not doing.
Candidates have so far been closed-lipped about how they would handle the dilemma. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who formally announced his candidacy for mayor this week, said last April that the city should “not continue the status quo” but that he had not determined exactly how the panel should change.
Now, Liu — who has not yet formally declared his candidacy — has come down on the side of restructuring. Under his plan, the mayor would continue to pick eight of 13 panel members and each borough president would still appoint a public school parent — but many other features would change.
Instead of giving the mayor carte blanche to choose panel members, Liu would limit his or her picks — and those of the borough presidents — to people nominated by a selection committee made up of elected officials, community members, labor leaders, and educators. The committee would publicly screen candidates put forth by its members and the public and select two or three for each spot. Then the mayor would choose from the shortlisted options. Liu would not require the borough presidents to pick prescreened candidates, but they could.
Instead of serving at the will of the public official who appointed them, panel members would serve fixed four-year terms that could be ended only with “due cause.” Such a change would preclude a repeat of the “Monday Night Massacre,” when Bloomberg yanked panel members who said they would vote against his social promotion ban proposal in 2004.
And while the panel members currently serve on a volunteer basis and typically do not convene except at required monthly meetings, Liu would pay them a stipend and require them to sit on sub-committees focusing on different policy issues.
Finally, under Liu’s proposal, power to approve or reject the mayor’s pick for chancellor would move from the State Education Department to the panel, and chancellors would need to have “at least 10 years of successful experience as a public or private school educator.” Bloomberg received waivers from SED for each of his three chancellors because they did not meet a requirement that chancellors hold a superintendent’s license.
An architect of the original law giving control of the city schools to the mayor, former Assemblyman Steven Sanders, said he thought Liu was on the right track with some of his proposals but missed the mark on others.
“The notion that a mayor cannot find a qualified educator who is also a great administrator and innovator is simply absurd,” Sanders said, backing Liu’s proposal to require chancellors to have education experience. Sanders also said fixed terms would give panel members something he fought for and did not win in 2002: “some degree of independent thinking and oversight.”
But he said he thought Liu’s nominating process was not necessary. “Let the mayor appoint persons he likes and let the borough presidents do the same,” he said.
De Blasio and the other two Democratic candidates for mayor, City Council speaker Christine Quinn and former comptroller Bill Thompson, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Liu’s proposal or the structure of the PEP.
As comptroller, Liu is responsible for the city’s fiscal stewardship, and he released the report as part of a series in the “Beyond High School NYC” initiative, which aims to boost the number of city students who graduate from college and contribute to the city’s economy. A previous report in the series called for the city to spend $176 million a year on guidance counselors to help more students get into college.
Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately reflected some details of the comptroller’s proposal. It also said the changes would require legislative approval. In fact, a new mayor could make some of the proposed changes immediately.
Liu’s full report about the structure and responsibilities of the Panel for Educational Policy is below:
The city’s charter school sector is pushing back against a groundswell of support for a moratorium on the space-sharing arrangement that has allowed the schools to proliferate.
Their resistance is not unified in tone. Some charter school advocates are requesting that proponents of a moratorium reconsider and others are taking their fight to the street.
The Bloomberg administration has relied heavily on co-location, the practice of allowing one school to open in another school’s building, to open new schools. Its critics say the arrangement breeds unnecessary tension and takes resources away from existing schools.
Now, three of the Democratic candidates for mayor — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, and former comptroller Bill Thompson — have all said they think Bloomberg should not be allowed to close or co-locate any schools in its last year. A bill proposed in the State Senate would bar school closures even into the next mayor’s term, and Assembly members are lining up to sponsor their own version of the bill.
Blocking co-locations and the school closures that often make space for them would be a serious blow to the city’s charter sector, which has flourished because the Bloomberg administration has offered more than 100 charter schools free space in district buildings. It would be difficult for new schools to open at the same pace if they had to find and pay for private space.
The threat has united independent charter schools and schools in management organizations, which are sometimes at odds, in the sector’s defense. On Wednesday, two dozen school leaders and advocates distributed a statement asking the mayoral candidates “to set aside the call for a moratorium on co-locations and show the kind of thoughtful leadership New York City needs.”
Several of the signatories handed out flyers to people attending the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators’ event featuring mayoral candidates on Wednesday evening, where the candidates later reiterated their support for a moratorium.
“I believe anyone who wants to lead the city is going to be a thoughtful person,” said Rafiq Kalam Id-Dinn, head of Brooklyn’s Teaching Firms of America Professional Preparatory Charter School. He said that if candidates surveyed city charter schools’ strengths, they should think, “Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t push pause.”
Some charter school operators are taking a more aggressive stance. Unlike representatives of the other major charter school networks in the city, Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz did not sign on to the sector’s letter. Instead, parents from her schools protested outside the three mayoral candidates’ offices this morning.
Outside Liu’s office, more than 100 parents from Success waved signs accusing the candidates of being pawns of UFT President Michael Mulgrew. The union has long opposed closures and co-locations, at times suing to stop the city from going through with them.
“We’re out here because we want co-location,” said Ali Aybakal, who has a child at Harlem Success Academy 4 in Harlem and three at New Heights Academy.
“Liu, Thompson, and De Blasio declared basically to destroy charter schools,” said Kelly Alday, an outspoken parent from Bronx Success Academy who is often a ringleader at the network’s protests. “They’re basically turning their backs on us.”
Moskowitz, who aims to open six new schools in public space this fall, has long represented the more radical wing of the charter movement, bringing busloads of parents to defend her network’s schools at public hearings and meetings where criticism is likely. A former City Council education committee chair, she has also sought — and received — more space from the city than any other charter school operator, at times forcefully proposing space-sharing plans directly to the chancellor.
Now, she is taking an extra share of criticism about the practice of co-location.
“Another thing that has to change starting in January is that Eva Moskowitz cannot continue to have the run of the place,” de Blasio said during the mayoral debate, where Moskowitz was the only school leader named, to loud applause. “She was giving the orders and chancellors were bowing down and agreeing. That’s not acceptable.”
In a statement responding to this morning’s protests, Melinda Martinez, a parent at Cobble Hill School for International Studies, said, “The Bloomberg-era policy of ‘what Eva wants, Eva gets’ is at stake now, and only the mayoral election can stop her from continuing to hurt our students, because not everyone can be bought off.” Success Academy Cobble Hill moved into the school’s building this year.
Perhaps anticipating this year’s political rancor, many independent charter schools opted out of a rally to support the sector last year. “There was a sense that there is a political element to this, and people thought that demonstrations that looked like Eva’s demonstrations did more to divide than bridge,” Harvey Newman, who heads the Center for Educational Innovation’s charter support network, told GothamSchools at the time.
Charter school parents – who number over 100,000 and counting — could potentially be a significant voting bloc in the mayoral election. At an event to mark National School Choice Week this morning at Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem, a parent asked Chancellor Dennis Walcott what families can do to support the sector. Walcott suggested holding a forum for mayoral candidates and giving them each a report card based on how much they favor charter schools.