Thursday, March 6, 2014

De Blasio Wasting His Charter Election Mandate - It is Time for He and Tish James to Make a Stand

Candidate de Blasio promised he’d start charging well-financed charter schools that got rent-free use of space in public schools. He did not like the idea of two different sets of kids getting different educations under the same school roof. One group gets a quasi-private school with no overhead in public school space.
Grade that F — for favoritism.
Mayor de Blasio is just doing what he promised to do during campaign... There has been a lot of barking over Mayor de Blasio's plans to tax-the-rich to fund pre-K and take a hard line on charter schools that take resources from public school students. But that's what got him elected in the first place... Daily News columnist Dennis Hamill
Finally, a piece that makes this point. Didn't he defeat pro-charter Joe Lhota with 75% of the vote? How inept politically on his part. But Michael Powell in the Times has the wrong take on the ineptness.
He decided last week to let most plans for charter expansion go forward — save for three schools run by Ms. Moskowitz. As a result, many dozens of children are without schools for next fall. Credit is due the mayor. With this decision, he succeeded at the devilishly difficult task of making a martyr of Ms. Moskowitz.
WTF, Michael. You mean deB's mistake was not giving in to everything she wanted? No, his big error is NOT going on the attack -- pointing the money she spends on advertizing, her salary which is higher than his, the chancellor and the president. Or her voracious attacks on schools she occupies. There is just so much stuff out there. But we get silence.

And the charter lobby alliance with Cuomo may well cow the other charter critics like Public Advocate Tish James, who is holding a meeting Saturday regarding this issue (Tish James Calls for March 8 Meeting: Dear CEC, PTA presidents and Elected Officials Impacted by Co-Locations)
and will "update" people on the status of the lawsuit she and City Council speaker Mark-Viverito filed but put on hold. My guess is that they are both being scared off. The James powerful speeches at the PEP meetings (here and here) seem to be turning into little squeaks. Just to remind you, let me run the first James clip from the Oct. 15 PEP.



Dennis Hamill seems to be the only media person who gets it.
So this week, it’s charter schools.
Every week, his sore-loser critics want Mayor de Blasio to break another campaign promise to those who elected him.
De Blasio, a progressive Democrat, ran on a platform of complete reform of the NYPD’s out-of-control “stop, question and frisk” policy under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Joe Lhota, his Republican opponent, promised to continue the policy and reappoint Kelly.
The city went to the polls and gave de Blasio about 75% of the vote.
And when de Blasio appointed Bill Bratton police commissioner to implement stop-and-frisk reforms, the mayor’s “shocked, shocked” critics painted him as a Socialist Sandinista who is inviting a return to the bad old days of the crack epidemic.
They wanted de Blasio to break his campaign promise.
This is ridiculous. Especially since under de Blasio/Bratton, this city has already enjoyed a 21% dip in murders during the first two months of the year.
De Blasio the candidate promised to tax the rich a paltry sum to help fund universal prekindergarten in public schools.
When Mayor de Blasio moved to keep that promise, his critics had a meltdown. They preferred a different plan suggested by Gov. Cuomo, who, in an election year, must appeal to a much broader statewide electorate.
De Blasio’s critics got headlines. But they are the minority who either voted for his opponent or did not have the civic pride to vote at all.
Now de Blasio’s sore-loser critics demand he break this campaign promise, too.
And this week, it’s charter schools. 
Candidate de Blasio promised he’d start charging well-financed charter schools that got rent-free use of space in public schools. He did not like the idea of two different sets of kids getting different educations under the same school roof. One group gets a quasi-private school with no overhead in public school space.
Grade that F — for favoritism.
De Blasio’s critics like to point out that many charter school students are minorities. So what? So are most New York City public school students.
The mayor’s critics even resort to making this a contest of how many people show up at rallies in Albany. One thousand people at a pro-de Blasio prekindergarten rally as opposed to 7,000 at an anti-de Blasio save-the-charter-school rally. Both are laughable numbers out of a public school system of 1.1 million students.

But Dennis Hamill gets this part wrong too. People showed up at the Moskowitz rally because SHE WAS ALLOWED TO CLOSE HER DAMN SCHOOLS AND FORCE PARENTS, STUDENTS AND STAFF TO ATTEND.
Not one word about that outrage in the press. What if de Blasio closed Brooklyn schools tomorrow so they could support the rally at Seth Low? Oh, would the press be screaming. 
Hamill finishes with a powerful point.

The only rally that mattered was the election last November.
De Blasio ran as a liberal Democrat on a progressive platform against Lhota. The choice was clear: Turn left or turn right.
De Blasio won in a landslide.
Some rich and powerful people don’t like the people’s choice of taxing the rich for pre-K. The police union doesn’t like the new stop-and-frisk policy. Parents of charter school students don’t like de Blasio’s new policy.

But the people have spoken.
The bottom line is: De Blasio was elected to reform stop-and-frisk, tax the rich to fund pre-K and curb the freeloading charter schools in public school buildings.
Now his sore-loser critics want him to break all those campaign promises.
Which would make de Blasio a phony and a liar to all those who elected him.
The NY Times' Michael Powell has a different slant. While absolutely correct on the inept de Blasio politically on the charter issue, Powell focuses on the Cuomo factor.

“Cat in Albany Is Outfoxing New York City’s Mouse”: “Credit is due the mayor. … [H]e succeeded at the devilishly difficult task of making a martyr of Ms. Moskowitz.” http://goo.gl/h8IY1m

Maybe the problem was with the metaphor.
Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and talked “progressive,” with ambitious plans for an income tax on the wealthy and an increase in the minimum wage. He rallied unions and activists and parents, and the sense was of a dog howling, and putting on notice the bigger dog in Albany.
Two months later, it turns out that the more apt metaphor was of cat-and-mouse.
Mr. de Blasio has taken the role of the impulsive mouse, demanding this cheese and that, and not quite knowing how to end his game. And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has taken the role of the big cat who can treat the mouse kindly — and, with a whack, send it tumbling back into its hole.
Evidence of the mayor’s diminished state came on Tuesday, when he took his crusade for a tax to fund universal prekindergarten to an armory in Albany a few blocks north of the Capitol. The turnout was not much to boast of, and it was made up mostly of union members who were in town to lobby for various causes.



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