The War on Public Education

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The debate over public schools v charter schools nation wide has been getting more attention due to the confrontation over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to give free space in an already overcrowded public to a privately funded charter school. It has brought open “warfare” between the mayor and the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo and much the NY news media is biased toward the well funded corporate backed charter schools which gets rent free space in public schools. Here of some of the facts

De Blasio came into office early this year and was handed plans approved by the former Bloomberg administration for 45 co-locations (some charter into traditional schools, others traditional schools into other traditional school buildings and sharing all space except classrooms). After reviewing the plans, de Blasio’s administration approved 36 and rejected nine. Seventeen of the 45 involved charter schools, and he allowed 14 of them to go through. How did administration officials decide? They used a set of criteria that included disallowing elementary schools from being co-located in high schools and refusing to allow co-locations that could affect space needed for special-needs students.

The three that were rejected were proposed by the Success Academy charter network in New York,  run by a longtime opponent of the mayor’s, Eva Moskowitz, but five Success co-locations were actually approved.  Moskowitz didn’t like being rejected even a little and she launched a public relations campaign against de Blasio that included closing 22 Success charter schools for a day and busing students and parents to Albany to rally with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a charter supporter, against de Blasio. (Imagine the ruckus  if de Blasio closed 22 schools to rally for traditional public schools.) Cuomo told the crowd that “we will save charter schools” as if de Blasio had announced he was closing all of them, which he is decidedly not. In fact, de Blasio has been attacked not only by charter supporters but by charter opponents who think he should have rejected all 17 charter co-location plans.

De Blasio made no bones about his plans for public education over charter scools during his campaign emphasizing that the free ride in a financially strapped city had to end.

There is no way in hell that [Success Academy Charter Schools founder] Eva Moskowitz should get free rent, okay? 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. They should have to pay rent. They have the money.

Charter schools have a lot of money. Enough to fund a multimillion dollar ad campaign attacking de Blasio and paying Success Academy’s head, Eva Moskowitz, a $475,000 yearly salary

In the crowd, Ms. Moskowitz, who turned 50 on Tuesday, mingled with thousands of people from over 100 charters around the state. Many were from her own 22 schools, which she let out for the day so the pupils and their parents could be bused to the capital. The advocacy group that organized the rally, Families for Excellent Schools, recently started a multimillion-dollar television ad campaign praising charter schools and calling on the mayor not to hold them back.

Ms. Moskowitz’s history of aggressive tactics has led several other charter operators to keep a wide berth. More than 30 charter school leaders, still hoping for better relations with the new mayor, boycotted the rally. [..]

She has also attracted notice for her salary, $475,000, partly paid by donors, and roughly double what the chancellor earns.

While Success Academy’s students do very well and mostly minority students from the inner cities, she comes under a lot of criticism for her tactics and policies to achieve those numbers:

Hope Scott, the parent association leader at P.S. 123, in Harlem, said she could not forget a summer day in 2008, when she saw desks and teachers’ property thrown in the hallway as a Success Academy school was “moving in.” [..]

Other critics note that her schools tend to serve fewer special education students and nonnative English speakers than surrounding neighborhood schools. Chancellor Fariña said on Tuesday that while some charter schools “do great work” in helping children with special needs, or those with limited English proficiency, Ms. Moskowitz “makes it clear these are kids she cannot help, necessarily, because she doesn’t have the resources for them.”

New York City’s Charter School Showdown Reignites National Debate on Privatized Education

The battle over charter schools is heating up after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blocked three privately run charter schools from using rent-free space inside public schools. The city also announced it will cut $210 million in charter school construction funding and use the money toward universal pre-K and after-school programs. The moves have set off a fierce debate in New York and the country and have even pitted de Blasio against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat.

Steve Barr, CEO and founder of Future Is Now, a nonprofit that works to improve public education and Brian Jones, who taught elementary school in New York City for nine years and is now pursuing a doctorate in urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center, discuss the future of public education

There is something that everyone needs to know about Gov. Cuomo’s vocal support of charter schools from Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education, just follow the money:

You can’t say this often enough.

Money matters in politics.

Forget principle. Think money.

Andrew Cuomo wants to be re-elected governor of New York with a large majority.

He has raised $33 million.

One of his biggest sources of money is Wall Street.

Wall Street loves charter schools.

Wall Street doesn’t love public schools.

The fact that only 3 percent of students in New York State attend charter schools doesn’t matter to Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo now wants to take charge of dispensing millions in public funds to charter schools for construction, and he wants to assure them that they can have public space without paying rent. He wants the power to give free space to charters, no matter what Mayor Bill de Blasio says.

The fact that high-flying charters like Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy not only excludes children with special needs, but literally pushes them out of their schools does not matter to Andrew Cuomo. Success Academy is for winners, not losers. Children with disabilities don’t belong in Success Academy’s charters.

1 comment

    • TMC on March 15, 2014 at 2:27 am
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