Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, September 11, 2014

De Blasio Caves To Charter School Sector

If there was ever a time when Mayor de Blasio could tell Governor Cuomo to go @#$% himself, this is the time.

Cuomo needed de Blasio's help in securing the Working Families Party ballot line last May, something that was very important to Cuomo since the woman who might have gotten that line had de Blasio not helped Cuomo out - Zephry Teachout - took 34% of the vote away from Cuomo in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday.

In addition, de Blasio mounted a very public push for Cuomo's very conservative running mate, Kathy Hochul, making robocalls on Hochul's behalf and helping to curtail the momentum Teachout's running mate Tim Wu got after the NY Times endorsed him.

Wu said yesterday, the reason Hochul won was in large measure due to de Blasio's work.

So if ever there was a time that de Blasio could tell Governor Cuomo that he's going to go his own way on something, now would be the time - Cuomo owes him big time.

Alas, rather than try and stick it to the charter school sector over co-location space and risk making his pal in Albany mad at him, de Blasio has caved to the charter school sector in the latest co-location battle:

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, which spent the winter in a bruising fight with charter school advocates, said on Wednesday that it would find space in public school buildings for four charter schools that want to open or expand next year.

The list of approved schools includes two run by Eva Moskowitz, the charter school leader who has been Mr. de Blasio’s sharpest adversary.

As public advocate, Mr. de Blasio frequently criticized Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for giving charter schools, which are privately run but publicly financed, free space in public school buildings over the objections of some parents and teachers. As a mayoral candidate, he called for a moratorium on so-called co-locations until the process for approving such arrangements was improved.

In February, he denied space to three of Ms. Moskowitz’s schools, setting off a political battle.

Charter supporters financed television advertisements criticizing the mayor, and Ms. Moskowitz bused thousands of charter school students and parents to Albany for a rally, at which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo promised the families his support. The governor and legislative leaders ultimately inserted in the budget a requirement that the city provide space to charters or else contribute to the cost of their renting private space.

The four schools the city said on Wednesday that it would find space for are Ms. Moskowitz’s two schools, Success Academy Bronx 3, which is adding third grade next year, and Success Academy Bed-Stuy 1, which is adding fifth grade; Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School, which is adding high school grades; and Bronx Charter School for Better Learning II, a new school.

Don't think the charter entrepreneurs weren't worried about what de Blasio was going to do - because they were:
Charter school advocates expressed relief at the news.

“We hope that this great step on the administration’s part will be the first of several, in order to make sure that this law works for everyone,” James Merriman, the chief executive of the New York City Charter School Center, said in a statement, referring to the new state law.

Cuomo rolled de Blasio last March when he finagled the Eva Moskowitz Charter School Giveaway Budget and forced NYC to either co-locate every charter's whims or pay for rent in private space.

That was when Cuomo was riding high in polls and power.

Since then, Cuomo has been rebuked twice by the left wing of his party, once last spring during the Working Families Party convention when party activists wanted to nominate Teachout and Cuomo needed the help of de Blasio and the unions to get the WFP ballot nod and Tuesday when he had the worst showing in a Democratic gubernatorial primary ever in New York State.

Cuomo has also been rebuked by US Attorney Preet Bharara for shutting down the Moreland Commission in return for getting an on time budget deal and for later meddling with former Moreland Commissioners in an attempt to defend that commission shutdown.

As I said in the beginning of the post, if ever there was a time that de Blasio could force Cuomo's hand on an issue - even the charter school issue - it is now, when Cuomo is diminished, weakened, and owes de Blasio big time.

De Blasio, for whatever reason, has chosen not do so and instead has caved to the charter school sector in the spacing battle.

Many are blaming de Blasio over this, claiming he's a sell-out and what-not, and they're probably right about that.

But I also suspect that, after getting no backing in the battle with Eva and Cuomo last winter/spring (including from the UFT), de Blasio has decided that this is not going to be a battle he's going to take on anymore.

So yes, blame de Blasio for caving to Eva and the charter school juggernaut.

But also blame the UFT for not backing him over Eva last year in the co-location battle.

BTW, the unions helped Cuomo out big time too this election cycle, not only helping him secure the WFP ballot nod by threatening the party with dissolution if they gave the endorsement to Teachout, but by pushing for Cuomo's conservative running mate as well.

AFT President Weingarten, she of the pro-gun control, pro-DREAM Act side of the political spectrum, robocalled for the anti-gun control, anti-immigrants' rights Kathy Hocul, as did Bill de Blasio.

It's nice to see the unions and the mayor on the same side in a fight - too bad it's on the side of helping the loathsome Cuomo and his uber-conservative running mate win this election.


  1. How many students do charters usually have per class? I'm guessing they have smaller class numbers so every time they take a class away from public school students they are adding to overcrowding over at the public side of things.
    They also just get rid of behavior issues, so PS gets stuck with those too. Students have low scores? Get rid of 'em. Students have special needs? Get rid of 'em. Hmmm, wonder why they do better? That's if they actually do any better. I've heard the don't really outperform the PS counterparts in most cases.

  2. As I reported in NYCEducator on Tuesday, Chancellor Farina is on the Board of the NYC Charter School Center, which lobbies for and provides services to charters.

    De Blasio has chosen sides, and chosen the neoliberal agenda. Just look at his signature achievement so far: a largely privatized, non-union pre-K, with charters and Common Core getting their claws on toddlers.

    It's Bill Clinton-style triangulation, redux.