New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio attacked the Bloomberg administration’s policy of placing privately managed charter schools in public school buildings. Not only does this cause overcrowding and increased class size, but it creates a two-class system, with privileged charters sited alongside public school students who must make do with less access to their library, their playground, their auditorium.
De Blasio, now leading in the latest polls, has a strong chance to change the direction of education in New York City, and thus, have a major impact on national education policy. Because he served on a community school board, and he has a child in the public schools, he understands the needs of public schools.
This is the press release opposing the practice of giving away public space to well-funded charters:
From: De Blasio Press <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM
Subject: DE BLASIO BLASTS NEW BLOOMBERG SCHOOL CO-LOCATION PLANS, DEMANDS SPEAKER QUINN SUPPORT A MORATORIUM
To: De Blasio Press <email@example.com>
DE BLASIO BLASTS NEW BLOOMBERG SCHOOL CO-LOCATION PLANS, DEMANDS SPEAKER QUINN SUPPORT A MORATORIUM
Half of New DoE School Co-Location Plans Would Put Schools over 100% Capacity
Speaker Quinn Once Again Sides with Bloomberg by Refusing to Support a Moratorium
De Blasio Renews Call for Moratorium on School Closures until a New Process is in Place
Brooklyn, NY – Public Advocate and Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio today criticized Mayor Bloomberg’s eleventh-hour efforts to push through deeply divisive school co-location plans, and blasted Bloomberg’s chief ally Speaker Quinn for refusing to call for a moratorium on school co-locations and closures – effectively acquiescing to these eleventh-hour changes.
“If Mayor Bloomberg has his way while his closest political partner Speaker Quinn stays silent, nearly half of the proposed co-location plans will put schools over 100% capacity. This means larger class sizes for our students,” said de Blasio. “Bloomberg’s proposals are a cynical effort to lock communities into permanent changes while ignoring community voices, and Speaker Quinn’s refusal to support a moratorium is letting Bloomberg have his way.”
Bill de Blasio is calling for an immediate halt to co-location and closure plans for the remainder of Bloomberg’s term and until a new process can be put in place. Despite years of community opposition and multiple efforts at reforming this deeply broken process, the thirty recently released Educational Impact Statements – the plans that outline significant changes in school utilization – unfortunately represent “business as usual” for Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn. Of the proposals released, nearly half will place school buildings over 100% capacity. In two proposals, when the school is fully phased-in, the buildings will be close to 135% capacity.
This is just the latest example of Speaker Quinn refusing to challenge Mayor Bloomberg, and routinely defending the Bloomberg status quo. When schools faced unfair co-locations and closures due to Department of Education’s lack of community engagement – such as the proposed closure of P.S. 114 in Brooklyn – Speaker Quinn stood on the sidelines. When parents and communities sought real involvement when schools faced disastrous co-locations, particularly during the Brandeis Educational Complex co-location, she was silent. De Blasio, in contrast, led the charge in fighting these wrong-headed policies. And Speaker Quinn praised Joel Klein as schools chancellor.
“The next administration deserves the opportunity to shape the future of the educational system in New York City, not be saddled with another Bloomberg plan offered in the twilight of his term that will last long after he is gone,” said de Blasio. “Speaker Quinn seems content to stand by and let that happen. These thirty “schools – nearly half of which will be left overcrowded – deserve better.”
As Mayor, de Blasio will create real reforms in the co-location process and elevate the voices of parents. He will create a class size reduction plan – not push through plans that contribute to overcapacity. De Blasio will also expand successful parent engagement models and ensure that district superintendent offices are proactively empowering communities with information about their schools. As Mayor, de Blasio will improve Mayoral Control and expand the role of Community Education Councils in decisions relating to co-locations, ensuring greater community influence. He will make sure all of our schools have great leaders, open 100 community schools over the next four years, and provide universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after school programs by asking the wealthy to pay a little more in taxes.
FACT: Speaker Quinn Refuses to Support a Moratorium on School Closures. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn refused to attend a press conference with public school parents calling for an immediate moratorium on school closings. Quinn said, “I do not support a moratorium [on school closures]”. [NY Post, 1/24/2013; New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, “Quinn Along Among Democrats in Not Supporting Moratorium”, 1/31/2013]
FACT: Key Bloomberg Education Backer Said That Schools Will Probably Still Close if Quinn Became Mayor and That “The Policy Itself May Be Not All That Different [From Bloomberg’s]”. In a Jan 2013 Wall Street Journal story, Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, praised Quinn’s approach on school closings. The story states, “Williams said schools will probably still close if Quinn ends up leading the city” and that “the policy itself may be not all that different” from Mayor Bloomberg’s proposals. [Wall Street Journal, “In Speech, Quinn Spells Out Education Platform”, 1/15/2013]
FACT: Speaker Quinn Said Bloomberg’s Schools Chancellor Joel Klein Did a “Terrific Job”. According to the New York Times, “She [Quinn] praised the mayor’s selection of Ms. Black’s predecessor, Joel I. Klein, a former federal prosecutor, saying he had done a ‘terrific job.’” [NY Times, “As Candidates Vow to Hire Educator as Chancellor, Quinn Keeps Options Open”, 5/8/2013]