Skip to comments.Mayor De Blasio vs. Minority Children: Defender of the powerless or of the teachers’ unions?
Posted on 03/11/2014 7:38:38 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Just try to envision the scene: A newly elected Republican mayor of a large American city takes steps to close down some of the best schools serving an almost exclusively minority population. You know how it would go. Wed be hearing that Republicans hate the poor. The words cruel, vicious, and racist would circle the new mayor like sharks. News organizations would examine where the mayor sent his own children, and his hypocrisy would be fiercely denounced.
It is, of course, the new Democratic mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, who is shutting down a number of highly successful public charter schools (his son attends a magnet school). Charters are public schools run by parents or others and are not constrained by the usual public-school rules, hours, or curricula. Charters currently educate about 20 percent of the students in Harlem and the Bronx, boroughs known for a) poverty, b) unemployment, and c) abysmal public schools.
Students are chosen for charter schools by lottery, and if youve seen Waiting for Superman or The Cartel, youve seen the excruciating drama. The Harlem Success Academy is typical. It received 2,665 applications for 125 spots last year, making it more selective than the Ivy League. When the results are announced, a lucky few are jubilant. The faces of the remainder of the children are tear-stained and devastated. Those tears are haunting unworthy of a great nation. We cannot wish away the problems of centuries (the legacy of slavery and discrimination), nor quickly solve the problems of crime and family disintegration that blight the lives of so many inner-city kids. But we can give them a shot at a good education the indispensable (if not completely sufficient) ticket to success.
Even the very liberal New Yorker magazine acknowledges the remarkable results achieved by the Harlem Success Academy. Last year, 64 percent of Harlems 3rd graders passed the state English exam and 88 percent passed the state math exam. At P.S. 123 . . . which is located in the same school building . . . only 18 percent of students passed the English test and only 5 percent passed the math test.
Not every charter posts such dramatic results, and there are a few whose students dont perform as well as those in comparable public schools, but most charters outperform public schools. They feature longer school days, higher standards, more parental involvement (some schools require parents to sign a contract promising to read to their kindergarten, first, and second graders one hour a day), and an atmosphere of safety and respect. Many of the 53,000 New York students currently on waiting lists for charters just want a safe and quiet atmosphere for learning. As Marcus Winters of the University of Colorado has found, far from harming the public schools, the presence of a charter school tends to improve the performance of neighboring public schools. Competition works its magic.
Mayor de Blasio bulldozed into office swearing to take aim at the privileged and defend the powerless. If you know anything about leftists, you wont be surprised that he is actually training his fire on the poorest and most vulnerable. Remember that one of Barack Obamas first acts was to attack the school-choice program in the District of Columbia. De Blasio is calling for a moratorium on the placement of charter schools within public-school buildings (many are co-located), and proposes that charter schools be required to pay rent. He has also unilaterally revoked a promise of space made by his predecessor to three new charters associated with the Harlem Success Academy, leaving 700 students out in the cold. Autumn Elvy, an eight-year-old charter student, told the New York Daily News that she had a message for the mayor: Stop being mean to charter schools because its not fair.
Mr. de Blasio, like many in his party, is a loyal servant of the teachers unions. But Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen to side with the parents. While de Blasio appeared last week before an assembled crowd of about 1,000 union members in matching T-shirts, Cuomo spoke at a competing rally of 7,000 or so parents.
That Democrats are beginning to fight over this question is encouraging. Republicans havent focused on it, perhaps thinking it doesnt affect their voters, very few of whom live in cities. Thats shortsighted. This is a moral issue. No one in public life should avoid it. Besides, it betrays the cold brutality of some Democrats who claim to speak for the poor.
Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.
I have a full supply of pop corn to watch another moron elected by the moronic voters of New York.
By the end of his term New York will be a wasteland where only those who are unable to leave will be left, houses will cost $3,000,000.00 each just to pay for taxes to support the city government due to the face that most of the lucky people who were able to leave have left.
RE: I have a full supply of pop corn to watch another moron elected by the moronic voters of New York.
Make that 70% of the 20% of eligible voters of New York City.
And yet blacks an other minorities vote overwhelmingly for their oppressors. You can’t fix stupid.
The smart ones are getting out early. Rush left years ago and Hannity is leaving soon.
The teachers unions and their elected lackeys have simply destroyed public education in this country. I know there are still good teachers in the system, but they are more and more the exception and not the rule, and more and more sending your children to a public school is akin to child abuse.
All those New Yorkers fleeing to Florida are lowering the collective IQ in both states.
More like: Defender of Mayor De Blasio. He is a worthless piece of garbage who cares only about himself.
in truth in fact the support for “public education” has always been more about support for the education industrial establishment, and not education itself, not education in and of itself
Sorry New York Bill “Kaiser Wilhelm” DeBlasio is going to “Dinkins” the city. You are in for some bad days