Battle Over Charters Begins as N.Y.C. Mayoral Race Heats Up
An email sent from Eva Moskowitz, the founder and chief executive officer of the Success Academy charter school network in New York City, reveals that those schools will open late to allow students and parents to take part in a march for charter schools and school choice on Oct. 8.
The email, which says parents, students, friends and relatives "must join" the march, asserts that "opponents want to take away our funding and facilities." While it does not explicitly say so, the march is in part a reaction to the success of Bill de Blasio, a vocal opponent of the controversial co-location practice in New York City which allows charter schools to share facilities with regular district schools at no cost.
Success Academy operates about 20 schools in the city.
De Blasio recently won the city's Democratic mayoral primary and was also endorsed by President Obama for the position. In New York, the school district is mayorally controlled, forcing educators there to follow the mayoral election very closely.
Under the tenure of Michael Bloomberg, who has been mayor since 2001, charter schools have flourished, growing from 18 schools to 180, in large part because of the availability of facilities through co-location.
At an event earlier this year, mayoral candidate de Blasio specifically called out Moskowitz. "There is no way in hell Eva Moskowitz should get free rent, okay?" he said to a cheering crowd. "There are charters that are much, much better endowed in terms of resources than the public sector ever hoped to be. It is insult to injury to give them free rent." (See video below, the quotation starts around 3:35).
In a press release, New York City council member Stephen Levin criticized Moskowitz's email to parents urging them to attend the march, saying that "it is insulting that someone who is supposed to be educating New York City's children would choose to pull kids out of school in order to benefit her political agenda."
The mayoral election in New York City will take place on Nov. 5.
Photo credit: New York City Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio dances on stage after addressing supporters at his election headquarters after polls closed in the city's primary election on Sept. 11 in New York. --Kathy Willens/AP