As reported earlier, Rupert Murdoch is pulling out all the stops to tear down New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio okayed 36 of the 45 co-locations he inherited from Bloomberg; he approved 14 of the 17 charter proposals. But Murdoch insists de Blasio is closing charters and throwing minority kids out on the street. In fact, Murdoch’s favorite charter operator Eva Moskowitz won five new charters, not the eight she wanted. But you would never know that by reading the editorial rant in the Wall Street Journal. The writer really, really despises de Blasio, even throwing in an irrelevant reference to Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe. Which means? I don’t know.
The WSJ can barely contain its admiration for Governor Cuomo, who boldly stood up for the 3% of children in charter schools as he continues to disregard the basic needs of the 97% in the state’s public schools, whose education is crippled by the budget cuts caused by the governor’s 2% tax cap. Even as taxes are capped, the public schools are compelled to spend more money on Common Core and testing, which Cuomo supports. Cuomo never tires of bashing New York state’s public schools. He thinks they cost too much. Someone should tell him that Eva Moskowitz’s charters spend $2,000 per pupil more than neighborhood public schools.
This puffed-up controversy over Eva Moskowitz’s charters demonstrates the inherent divisiveness of charters. They are not public schools. As the charters say in every court proceeding, whether in federal or state courts, they are private corporations with a government contract. As they said to the NLRB, they are not public schools and not subject to NLRB regulations. As the California Charter School Association said in an amicus brief last fall, charter operators should not be convicted for misappropriating $200,000, because charter schools are not public schools and are not subject to the same laws as public schools.
So the billionaires have a chance to smear a popular new mayor, because he gave Eva Moskowitz only five charter schools instead of eight.
Murdoch is outraged that the mayor asked charter operators to pay rent. They can’t cry poverty. Eva Moskowitz is paid nearly half a million each year. She pays the powerful D.C. political lobbying firm Knickerbocker more than $500,000 each year to tend her chain’s image; it must have cost much more this year. In addition, Eva’s Success Academy spends hundreds of thousands each year on marketing to parents, to create demand. In the current battle with the mayor, someone came up with millions of dollars for television and full-page ads. Yet they claim they can’t pay the city for the space they take away from the other 94% of students in New York City. Don’t buy it.