Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, October 11, 2013

Eva Moskowitz - A Cancer In The School System

Eva Moskowitz's charter schools - uncontrolled cancerous growth:

Like many public school parents and veteran educators, Lynn Manuell is fed up with the special treatment granted charter schools during the Bloomberg era.

She’s tired of the endless co-locations of charters in regular public schools decreed by the bureaucrats at Tweed.

Special ed teacher Manuell has witnessed the inequities of charter school co-locations first hand. 
For the past 11 years, she’s taught theater arts to autistic and emotionally disturbed children at Mickey Mantle, a special education public school in Harlem.

When she started there, her students, pre-K to fourth-graders, were already sharing a sprawling blocklong building with PS 149.

“Still, we had our own cafeteria, playground, library, and cluster rooms (for specialized activities),” she says. So both schools got along.

Then in 2006, a charter school arrived, Harlem Success Academy. It was the flagship school for what has mushroomed into a chain of 18 schools run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz’s Success Charter Network, all of them co-located in public schools.
“We lost our library and a bunch of classrooms that year,” Manuell says.

The following year, as Harlem Success increased its enrollment, Mickey Mantle was ordered to give up more space.

“We lost our technology room, our music room, our art room and we had to start sharing the cafeteria, the gym and playground,” Manuell says.

Moskowitz notes her schools boast among the highest standardized test scores in the city.

Less publicized is how flush they are with cash, thanks to federal funding and private and foundation donations. They hold more than $35 million in reserves, their most recent financial reports show.

Manuell has been relegated to teaching theater at Mickey Mantle in a former office with no windows. A fellow teacher conducts four periods a week of gym in a regular classroom because so little time has been allotted in the main gym to the Mickey Mantle pupils.

“After a few years, I thought we were finally cool, that we would at least keep the rest of our space,” Manuell says.

No such luck. Not with Bloomberg determined to leave behind a slew of rent-free charters in public school buildings.

Among the latest co-locations up for approval this month, Tweed wants to admit up to 375 middle-school pupils to Manuell’s school over the next several years. They will come from another Moskowitz school, Harlem Success 4.

As for the Mickey Mantle school, 20% of its enrollment will be cut. Even with that reduction, officials concede the building may reach 130% of capacity.

No wonder the local Community Education Council and some Harlem politicians blasted the plan at a public hearing Thursday.

Their only hope for bringing equity back to our public schools, they figure, is if de Blasio wins the mayor’s race.

Eva Moskowitz has the chutzpah to march for continued rent-free access to school buildings and use her students as political props in the process.

We'll see if de Blasio cuts this cancer out of the system.

He and Eva seem to genuinely not like each other.

That may not bode well for her.

But we'll see.

She has powerful friends and a lot of money at her disposal.


  1. The Times reports that the city council has blocked a plan by the Bloomberg administration to lease land from city owned housing to developers who wish to offer the space at market value. Yet, the city refuses to collect rent for charters?

    1. Yup - and had Eva on speed dial. Whatever she needed...

  2. Using a public school building rent-free to run a free public school equals cancer? It's not like they're turning it into a McDonald's or a Starbucks. There needs to be more and better tuition-free schools for children. When I look at the job the Department of Education is doing now, I'm not sure I want to send my children to the "regular public schools". Calling the children "political props" is a little bit harsh. Now that there's a decent free option for people who can't afford to go to school with Suri Cruise, I suppose that De Blasio will try as hard as he can to screw it up and force the poor back onto the DOE plantation.

    Do you think the Department of Ed is well-run organization that serves the needs of the community? Did Eva assign the theater teacher to a windowless office, or is that where DOE put him?

    I guess Eva makes a convenient target to deflect blame from a dysfunctional DOE. And she probably makes a million dollars a year, too, so she's practically as rich as the mayor or Hillary Clinton.

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