TownhallAre Democrats Eating Their Own Over Charter Schools?
Morgan Brittany | Mar 31, 2014
Amidst all of the 24/7 coverage of the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, a news story did manage to bubble up from the depths and it posed an interesting question.Are Democrats really concerned about minorities and the poor?Are they really looking to help them achieve success and prosperity in life?
In a move that garnered more attention than newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio probably expected, a decision was made to close some, and limit the growth of other Charter schools in New York City.
De Blasio’s major foe on this issue is Success Academy Networks CEO, Eva Moskowitz.She runs 22 city schools with millions of dollars in assets and is determined to keep alive the promise that former mayor Bloomberg gave to keep and expand the charter school program.
At the center of this firestorm is the decision to displace the 200 students from the highly performing Success Academy Harlem Central Middle School. This particular school which opened in 2012 boasts some of the city’s highest scores.As recently as 2013, 96% of fifth graders at that school passed state math exams, the highest passing rate in the state. Now, De Blasio wants to boot them from their public space and force the children into lower performing public schools.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come out swinging against de Blasio and in support of Moskowitz and the charter school program.He has even gone so far as to suggest that perhaps a “technical” change could be made to the state law that would protect the schools.
This is a tricky position for both of these hard-core Democrats to be in since everyone knows that they are beholden to the unions in that state.Especially the teachers union which is putting the screws to any elected official that dares to jump ship after they got them elected.
Cuomo’s position on this matter is to include in his budget more state money for the Charter schools.This is in line with former Mayor Bloomberg’s thinking.De Blasio, on the other hand, says that Charter schools have a “destructive impact” on traditional schools and has vowed to charge rent to these schools which are privately run but publicly funded.They also have non-union teachers.
The 6700 students in schools run by Ms Moskowitz are 90% black or Hispanic.These children have consistently outscored traditional schools on state tests.They not only outperformed in math, but in reading, they triumphed with 58% vs 26%.
This begs the question; what are they really concerned with?Is it about advancing the lives and education of the mostly minority children that are affected, or continuing the downward spiral that we have seen in public education for decades?This is the only chance that many of these children have to get out of the substandard education system of the New York public schools.The stats speak for themselves and the parents know it.
Many Democrat voters who championed de Blasio’s more Socialist agenda are now turning on him when it begins to affect their children.Most parents want to see their children succeed in life and many of these families are watching a bureaucrat take away that one opportunity that was promised to them.
Dig a little deeper however and you can see that both Democrats at the center of this firestorm are not really looking out for the best interests of the children.Even though I favor Cuomo’s side, I found that he has major ambitions to run for President in 2016 and is courting money from Wall Street and hedge-fund managers who favor Charter schools.They have lined his pockets with over $400,000 in contributions and the number rises even higher when you add in bankers, philanthropists and real estate moguls who support education and Charter school causes.
De Blasio, on the other hand, is in the pocket of the unions.He depends on their undying support which is why he continues his income inequality mantra ad nauseum.
So the Democrats find themselves between a rock and a hard place.They are being faced with hypocrisy and can’t find a way out.They are fighting among themselves and splitting their voters.This issue is spreading across the country and even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has to take a side on this subject When they find themselves hurting the very people that they depend on to get re-elected, what do they do?
Do the right thing, or cave into special interests and money?What do you think?