Success Academies compared their pro-free charter school rent rally in Albany a few weeks ago to the freedom rides while the de Blasio administration called the universal pre-K drive a civil rights issue.
The consensus from the article?
Success Academies is off base:
Meanwhile, the civil-rights references from the Success network, led by former councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, has prompted some squirming, even within the charter movement.
One charter school activist I talked to said that the charter movement couldn't accurately compare itself to a movement marked by violence, fire hoses and police dogs, and expressed worry that charter-boosting colleagues, who were clearly winning a public-relations battle against the mayor, were wading into dangerous territory by explicitly invoking civil rights. Another said that the de Blasio administration's use of civil rights language showed that both sides were doing it, but that the analogy between advocacy for students and the fight for civil rights, in both cases, was imperfect.
A spokeswoman for Success declined to comment for this article.
But some city charter advocates privately told Capital they recognize that the rhetoric—particularly the implication that by the de Blasio administration is denying the civil rights of minority students by limiting charters—is a stretch.
Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University, says the issue of universal pre-K has a more legitimate claim on the civil rights movement’s legacy than the charter cause does. He pointed to the fact that the mayor’s plan is to make pre-kindergarten available for all the city’s toddlers, while charters are, by definition, only available to some students.
“The claim on the part of the charter movement is much more far-fetched than the claim on the part of the mayor,” Baker said. “Unless you believe that Eva Moskowitz is the new Rosa Parks, which I find hard to credit.”
Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP’s New York State conference, criticized the charter network in loaded terms of her own, referring to the landmark civil rights case that desegregated the nation’s public schools: “Success’ schools have almost turned Brown [vs. Board of Education] on its head,” she said.
Read the whole piece.
Quite frankly, I'm sick of the use of civil rights rhetoric from the corporate education reformers like Moskowitz, Arne Duncan, Joel Klein et al.
And considering how many charter schools are almost wholly segregated by race, it's beyond a stretch to claim they are analogous to the freedom rides, demonstrations, protests and sit-in's of the Civil Rights Era.