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NYC Charter Schools Plan Showdown With Future Mayor

NYC Leaders Hold Press Conf. Urging New Iranian President To Carry Out Reforms

New York City has just become ground zero in the national debate over charter schools, with a massive protest scheduled for next month. On October 8th, a number of charter school teachers and their students will take the day off and head to the Brooklyn Bridge, where they will protest what they see as mayoral favorite Bill de Blasio’s attacks on charter schools.

Early in the campaign, de Blasio announced his intentions to begin charging them rent for the use of public school buildings. Most of the city’s charter schools currently operate out of empty or underused public school buildings, for which the city charges no rent.

Now battle lines are being drawn. Teachers unions and left-leaning outlets like the Daily News point out that this is a relatively unusual arrangement—many cities charge charter schools at least nominal rent for use of city property. They also express concern that the deal gives charters an “unfair advantage” over their public-school competition. Charter supporters object to the change, which they say could force many to shut down or cut back on programs that benefit their students. It’s a particularly potent concern in a city where rents are stratospherically expensive.

From our perspective, we are less concerned with whether charter schools have an unfair advantage over public schools than whether they succeed at offering students a solid education. If allowing charter schools to use mostly-empty buildings free of charge (which is, essentially, the same deal public schools themselves already have) frees up resources that help improve their students’ performance, this is all to the good.

For education reformers, this is quickly turning into a battle to watch.

[Bill de Blasio photo courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • Ooga Booga

    It’s looking like I’ll have to vote Republican for the first time…won’t make a damn bit of difference though.

    • USNK2

      Ooga: your vote will count.
      There is a reason why deBlasio only won with about 260,000 votes (4 of 10 who did vote):
      MILLIONS of registered voters stayed home.
      Anyone over 45 will be voting in the general election to maintain sanity in NYC.
      We remember the fear, the violence, the reverse racism hate on all the streets of the city when deBlasio was working for Mayor Dinkins, 1989-1993.
      As for this VM post?
      The New York Daily News is center-leaning, but maybe that is just Mike Lupica and the editorial board.

      • S.C. Schwarz

        Early polls show De Blasio leading about 65% to 25%. I’ll still come out to vote, and I even contributed to Lhota, but I don’t have much hope.

        • USNK2

          SC: the silent voters are just now paying attention.
          deBlasio’s surge came after the first debate, and, he towered over everyone, both in height, and words.
          The three debates with Lhota on Oct. 15, 22, and 29 will make the difference.
          The runoff for Public Advocate on Oct. 1 will also increase attention.
          Just hope the NY GOP does not make things worse.

      • Kevin

        I always thought it had a left of center but downscale and populist sensibility. More blue collar than gentry liberal.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    There will be no battle here. De Blasio will win, easily, and he will serve his loyal constituent base, which very much includes the unions. Charters schools will be shut down. To paraphrase Al Shanker, De Blasio’s position is:
    “When schoolchildren start voting in municipal elections, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.”

    • Corlyss

      Very apt reference to Shanker. De Blasio will set NYC back decades, to Dinkins to be precise. Where’s Snake Plissken when you really need him?

      • f1b0nacc1

        Even the good liberals of NYC didn’t trust Shanker. I remember Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper”, where Allen’s character discovers that the world was destroyed because “some man named Albert Shanker got ahold of a nuclear bomb”…
        Thanks for the Escape from New York reference…I need to watch that again….

        • Corlyss

          One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies!

          • f1b0nacc1

            Apparently we think alike….that should worry you! (grin)

    • Pete

      De Blasio is an old time, hard core lefty who worships at the alter of the Almighty State.

      NYC is in for hard times.

      Under de Blasio, crime will soar and the economy will, if not tank, then at least sag.

      • S.C. Schwarz

        But why? This is a guy who went to help the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and honeymooned in Cuba. Communism probably killed more people and stunted more lives than any other movement in human history and De Blasio doesn’t back away from his previous support. If he professed admiration for Nazism he would immediately disqualify himself but supporting Communism is still fashionable. Why?

        • Tom

          Because Communists can talk a good talk about helping the masses in the general, whereas the only masses the Nazis were interested in were Aryan ones. Also, the Nazis were much less interested in things like gender equality.
          In other words, Communism is much closer to how the American elite thinks than Nazism. Or at least that’s what the elite wants people to think.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Being a Leftie means never having to say you’re sorry.

      • Corlyss

        Fortunately, he can’t kill the economy in NYC – it’s already dead thanks to nanny-statism of the endless Democratic parade in Albany. But as you say, he can always make it the playground of gangs and race wars. I was contemplating a visit to the incomparable Cloisters in Ft. Tryon. Guess I won’t after all.

        • Pete

          The Cloisters are nice, always worth as visit.

          Too bad Inwood has become like Spanish Harlem.

          • Corlyss

            The Cloisters is my favorite place on earth.

  • Anthony

    Hidden biases are capable of guiding our behavior without our being aware of their role (mindbugs). So, what’s really driving this potential battle as stipulated above. The facts….

  • chasrmartin

    oddly, I investigated this, and it looks like there should be *plenty* of money. I wonder where it goes?

  • Bandit

    This is awesome because now parents will leave the city school system and either enroll their kids in private schools or move to the suburbs then the public school system will be left with the core of kids whose families lack those options. It’s a lose/lose – awesome job bill.

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