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No room for charters

New York Teacher

Picking up on Mayor Eric Adams’ more welcoming attitude, the charter lobby is flexing its muscles again and Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy’s rapacious chief executive, is trying to elbow her way into yet more district schools.

She called on the parents of Success Academy students to dominate virtual Department of Education public hearings on Dec. 19 and 20 to shoehorn Success Academy charter schools into two public school buildings in Queens, urging them to "be unrelenting in your quest for educational equity." 

It is classic Moskowitz spin, casting her charter school empire as an under-dog when it is actually the Goliath in the clash. At the behest of ex-governor Andrew Cuomo, the charter lobby got a state law passed in 2014 that requires New York City to provide rent-free space for charter schools or pay their rent. Moskowitz, the head of the wealthiest charter network, seized on this subsidy and has muscled her schools into dozens of public school buildings across the city.

Drawing on the largesse of its Wall Street donors, Success Academy spruces up its public school spaces with pricey carpeting and fancy furniture while offering amenities like yoga rooms. It’s all designed to create envy among the families of students in the adjoining public school.

Success has long skewed its academic results by accepting fewer English language learners and special education students and expelling children who don’t meet its rigid behavioral code.

Even though the charter cap was reached long ago, Success Academy has kept growing by exploiting a loophole that has allowed existing charter schools to keep adding new grades.

But there is no more room for charter school colocations in our school buildings. In September 2023, we will start the five-year phase-in of the new state law to reduce class sizes so our schools will need every inch of that space for our students.