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The Buffalo Board of Education's recent 5-4 vote to impose a moratorium on district-approved charter schools shouldn't surprise anyone considering that at least four members in favor of it were elected with the help and cash of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

This moratorium is more than just knee-jerk opposition to charters, which we've come to expect from the union leadership and those doing their bidding. Rather, the moratorium is a clear message from this flimsy majority to education reformers, children not meeting standards and parents with an eye on the suburbs: "Drop dead."

Of course, those fighting for better public education do not have to settle for the board's narrow verdict any more than the pioneers of charter schools did five years ago. Back in 1999, after the charter school law passed, the entire School Board and City Hall bureaucracy opposed charter schools and tried to prevent every one from being approved by the Board of Regents or the State University.

Thankfully, the Regents and SUNY disagreed, and saw the bigger picture and the need for reform in Buffalo. Slowly, that same School Board evolved, and this one can, too, if it goes back and puts children's needs first.

Peter Murphy

Vice President, New York Charter

School Resource Center