New York City: Mayor de Blasio’s Capitulation to the Powerful Charter Lobby

There used to be a well-known saying: “You can’t fight City Hall.”

Change that to: “You can’t fight the charter lobby.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio ran for mayor with the promise that he would fight the charter lobby. He was a public school parent and had served on a community school board. I believed him. I endorsed him.

Then after he was elected, the billionaires showed him who runs education policy in Albany. Governor Cuomo, the recipient of large sums from the financial industry, became the charter cheerleader, even though charters enrolled only 3% of the children in the state. The Republican-led State Senate gives the charter industry whatever it wants. The charter industry’s best friend is State Senate Republican leader John Flanagan, who loves loves loves charters, but not in his own district on Long Island. Call him Senator NIMBY.

De Blasio wanted charters to pay rent if they could afford it. The legislature required the City to give free space to charters, even though public schools are overcrowded, and to pay their rent if they locate in private space.

In the recent legislative session, the mayor was told that the only way to get a two-year extension of mayoral control was to revive 22 charters that had been closed or abandoned for various reasons.

Now the mayor is seeking a “truce” with the private charter industry that sucks the students it wants from the public schools.


Mayoral control is a failed experiment. New York City needs an independent Board of Education, which chooses the Chancellor and to whom the Chancellor reports. The Mayor should make appointments to that board, along with the borough presidents. Candidates should be screened for their qualifications and experience by an independent review board of civic leaders, a process used in the past.

The city needs a board prepared to support and defend the 1.1 million students in public schools, to provide a public forum for grievances, and to listen to their parents and communities.

from novemoore


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