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New York Post


De Blasio's Plan to Kill Charter Schools

January 14, 2014

By Bob McManus

Kiss charter schools good-bye.

That’s been a top Team de Blasio goal since the new mayor was polling in the single digits and courting the teachers’ union, and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina on Monday telegraphed hints as to how the mission is to be accomplished.

Speaking with National Public Radio, the career Board of Ed bureaucrat had this to say about a proposal to extract rent from charter schools that happen to occupy space in traditional public schools:

“I think that a lot of people make a lot of money on [charters]; if there’s money for some things, there’s got to be money for rent as well . . . I think right now we need space for our own kids. You’re going to have a large pre-K initiative. Where are we going to put some of those kids?”

This is an astonishing statement on a couple of levels, but first be clear on this fundamental point: New York City’s seemingly endless charter-school debate has nothing to do with rental income — or even money, except tactically. Intrinsically, it has very little to do with classroom space, either.

It’s about the fact that most charter schools aren’t unionized, and that more often than not they work — embarrassing the unionists.

This makes them an existential threat to the perceived best interests of the United Federation of Teachers, which involve the jobs, pay and perks of its members — and never mind the kids. Now the union is calling the public-education shots, and it has decreed that the charter baby be drowned in the bathtub — and, again, never mind the kids.

In this respect, Farina’s NPR comments explain a lot.

First off, her assertion that “we need space for our own kids” borders on the bizarre. Forget space: New York City’s 160 charter schools are every bit as much public institutions as the 1,400 other schools that have been placed in Farina’s custody. At least nominally.

Charter kids are her kids, too. They are New York’s kids — diverse, challenging, and also very much in need of a sophisticated, 21st-century education.

But Farina’s distinction certainly tracks the UFT line — and it also mirrors the view of anti-reform troglodytes like NYU’s Diane Ravitch, a woman with substantial, if surreptitious, influence on the new administration.

The comment also calls into question the chancellor’s judgment, to say nothing of her independence — and totally discounts the fact that charter schools work. Not all of them, of course, but most — which is more than can be said for the system at large.

No surprise here; certainly parents know it. That’s why thousands of them turn out for charter-placement lotteries every year, fully understanding that they’ll mostly leave disappointed because the demand vastly exceeds the available number of seats.

Original Source:



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