In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski interviewed Eva Moskowitz, a Democrat and educational-reform champion who runs New York City’s largest charter school network – Success Academy Charter Schools. According to Kaminski:
She is the city’s most prominent and vocal advocate for charter schools, and therefore a threat to the powerful teachers union that had been counting the days until the de Blasio administration took over last month from the charter-friendly Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Assailed by Mayor de Blasio and union leaders, Ms. Moskowitz is fighting back with typically sharp elbows.
The 6,700 students at her 22 Success Academy Charter Schools are overwhelmingly from poor, minority families and scored in the top 1% in math and top 7% in English on the most recent state test. Citywide, four in five charters in New York outperformed comparable non-charter public schools.
“A progressive Democrat should be embracing charters, not rejecting them,” she says. “It’s just wacky.
With strong support from most of the city’s unionized public school teachers, New York City’s new mayor has basically declared a war on the city’s charter schools, and has started his promised major assault on the city’s most successful public schools:
In the six weeks since taking office, Mr. de Blasio has energetically begun to make good on his campaign promises. He cut all funding for charter-school construction after 2015. He announced a “moratorium” on putting new charters inside existing schools. He is considering ways to roll back 25 co-locations already approved for the next school year, including 10 Success Academies.
MP: It’s important to note that 10 of the 22 Success Academy schools are located in Harlem, which is where the original Success Academy school opened in 2006, and where the charter network operated exclusively until 2009 when it expanded to poor neighborhoods in the Bronx.
Q: Given Success Academy’s impressive record of proven student success in Harlem and other poor neighborhoods in New York City – for example, students at its first charter school in Harlem rank in the top 1% of all New York State public schools – wouldn’t you think Success Academy and other charter schools would be looked at as models of educational success by the teachers unions, the school board and the Mayor of New York City? Who wouldn’t agree that an inner-city Harlem charter school ranking in the top 1% of all state schools demonstrates that charter schools are doing something right for students?
A: In a more sensible and sane world where students are the No. 1 priority of educators, the educational establishment would be “falling all over itself” to copy and promote the proven educational learning approaches of the charters. But in a distorted teacher union-dominated world you would be wrong, because student success is obviously not the primary concern of the public school monopoly. Preservation of the status quo and a continuation of the current failed public school model, and preserving its power, are the primary concerns of the teachers unions and their administrative enablers, which now includes the New York mayor. In the insane, upside-down world of public school unions, Eva Moskowitz is the teachers union’s Enemy No. 1 for daring to make student success Priority No. 1 at her successful charter schools. Unfortunately, it now looks like continuing and duplicating the success of charter schools including Moskowitz’s Success Academies will be much more difficult in New York City, and thousands of poor children will be casualties of the new mayor’s “War on Charters.”