NYC Charter Schools Boss: De Blasio's Cuts Would Hurt Poor Kids

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 03:31 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Progressive Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to deny poor children "a shot at life" with his effort to eliminate charter schools in New York City, charter school advocate Eva Moskowitz charges.

"We have a mayor in the city of New York who says he's a progressive, on the one hand, but wants to deny poor kids in Harlem an opportunity, a shot at life," Moskowitz told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

During his campaign for mayor, de Blasio made the attack personal when he said Moskowitz had to stop being "tolerated, enabled, supported."

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Moskowitz is the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, which operates three charter schools in New York City.

De Blasio's plan would cut $210 million from charter schools to fund an initiative for prekindergarten classes. On Thursday, he announced he would rescind approvals for three charter schools to co-locate with city schools, all run by Success Academy, reported The Washington Post.

Moskowitz said the mayor was leaving the students "educationally homeless." She said there was no explanation for why de Blasio would no longer allow her schools to use space in city school buildings for free, and called the move "bad for kids" and "bad politics."

"People have put forward that there's some sort of personal thing that he has. We served on the [New York City] Council together. It's not personal for me. He seems like a perfectly lovely person," she said.

Moskowitz said de Blasio's move would close "the highest-performing school in the state of New York in math in fifth grade."

She said it was impossible to educate children "if you do not have a building."

"We are a public school. And we think we have a right to either be in a building or get facilities funding, which we do not get," she said.

The move to close schools that were clearly performing was curious, Moskowitz said, given that schools "in China and India are leaps and bounds ahead of us."

"You would think in a city and a state and the nation that has an educational crisis of monumental proportions, we would welcome alternatives that have high performance," she said. "It is not progressive to disenfranchise poor minority kids who want a shot at the American dream."

Moskowitz said she did not have a backup plan for continuing classes in her charter schools, because she did not anticipate it would be needed.

"I don't have a Plan B, because I was never expecting in my wildest dreams that the mayor of the city of New York, a so-called progressive, would throw children in Harlem out on the street," she said.

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