The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio by Daniel Berger

Demand and Keeping Score

  • There is a constant neighborhood desire for her academies. Applications outstrip seats five to one. While the self-selection process may result in somewhat better students than comparable public schools, Daniel doesn’t think it comes close to explaining away Success Academy’s results.
  • Prizes are given for good scores on practice tests, and students’ results on these tests are posted on classroom walls. This may be painful for some, but at least they know where they stand. Meanwhile, only 13% of the 58% of the city’s black students who graduate in four years are prepared for college. Results for each teacher’s class are posted, and teachers whose classes lag are responsible for seeking out advice from those who top the charts. Students with lower scores are given access to answers of higher scoring students for non multiple choice questions.

The Political Dimension

  • Former mayor Bloomberg had a very supportive relationship with Moskowitz. This irked the union, and de Blasio openly criticized the relationship during is campaign for the office. He went so far as to say “She has to stop being tolerated, enabled, supported.” As it turned out, many of the people who contribute to the charter schools, also support Governor Cuomo’s political efforts. For this reason he has helped shield charters from de Blasio’s assault. Maskowitz even rallied 10,000 people for a demonstration in Albany the same day de Blasio had a much smaller crowd pushing for taxes on the rich to support pre schools. Cuomo choose to address the charter school crowd and promised to “save charter schools.”
  • It’s clear that the battle is far from over. There are currently four lawsuits trying to stop Success Academies. For her part, Maskowitz is considering a run for mayor in 2017. As she sees it. “We have to face our educational crisis. Incredibly large numbers of schools are not working. There’s an endless need.” In her mind, Moskowitz holds the answers. When Daniel reached out to the de Blasio administration while writing this article, he was treated with silence. While this article may seem to have a conservative slant, keep in mind that the New York Times is not known for supporting conservative causes.
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