Editorials

Mayor overreaches yet again

It’s bad enough that the Bloomberg administration bends over backward to accommodate charter school operators seeking space in existing schools despite staunch opposition from parents, students and educators in affected communities. Now the administration is trying to pre-emptively approve a co-location for charter school operator Eva Moskowitz even before she’s submitted an application to open the school.

The New York Post reports that the city Department of Education is trying to fast-track plans for the placement of a Moskowitz charter school in an unnamed district school in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. The city Panel for Educational Policy, which is controlled by the mayor, has reportedly scheduled a vote on a site for March.

The city routinely plans charter school co-locations six to eight months in advance. In this instance, however, the Bloomberg administration is proposing a number of them as far into the future as September 2015, nearly two years after the mayor will have left office. The maneuver is clearly an effort to protect future charter schools from a mayor less inclined to accommodate them.

Three of four likely Democratic mayoral candidates have called for a moratorium on co-locations while Council Speaker Christine Quinn, although not a supporter of a moratorium, wants to change the rules for co-locations to make the process more transparent.

The pre-emptive move to accommodate future charter schools is another example of how the mayor overreaches to exert his authority and influence, just as he did when he strong-armed his way into a third term in office, the law be damned.

Bloomberg’s attempt to flex his political muscle and leave his mark on education policy well after he’s gone is profoundly anti-democratic. It lays bare his disdain not only for teachers and parents, but for all New York City voters, who apparently can’t be entrusted to elect an able mayor as his successor.

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