Arthur Goldstein has been teaching high school students in New York City for 29 years. He has a blog called NYC Educator. This is his reaction to the charter flap in New York City, caused when Mayor de Blasio approved 39 out of 49 charter applications (some of the new charters will be given space in public school buildings, displacing public school students), approved three new charters for Success Academy (Eva Moskowitz’s chain), but turned down three of Eva’s applications.

I’ve been chapter leader of Francis Lewis High School for almost five years now. For my money, we are a great school. We offer kids an incredible variety of activities, including academic and sports teams, and the largest and most successful JROTC program in the country.

The biggest crisis we faced when I got this job was overcrowding. It came upon us gradually, and became very scary when we realized there was a breaking point. After all, there was nothing Mayor Mike Bloomberg enjoyed better than closing large schools like ours, and we needed to act before he got a chance.

If I were Eva Moskowitz, perhaps I’d have closed the school, rented buses, and shipped all our students to Albany to protest. (Isn’t it odd she can finance such a trip, pay herself 450K per annum, and still be horrified at the prospect of paying rent?) Even though neither I nor my colleagues know anyone half as rich as the hedge-funders who support Moskowitz, we’d surely have generated a lot of publicity.

For example, we’d be in abject violation of the law, as we have no right to unilaterally close our school. While NBC4 may fawn over the work Eva Moskowitz does, I can’t imagine support for any such trip is merited. For one thing, a lot of our students might not understand why they were being deprived of school, even if we made a show out of trying to teach them on the bus.

My students, for example, know very little English, having arrived here quite recently. I’m very proud that our school accepts and keeps virtually every English language learner that crosses our threshold. We also have a wide variety of special needs students, including alternate assessment students who will never receive Regents diplomas. Though we have programs to help these kids find and maintain work, their results are counted against us in our graduation rates.

How many of those kids do you suppose are enrolled in the Moskowitz Success Academies?

A public school trip to Albany on a school day would certainly draw us a lot of press, and cause us quite a bit of trouble. As chapter leader, whenever a teacher has a disciplinary issue, I represent that teacher before the principal. There’d likely be little of that at first, since any principal who approved such a trip would be removed instantly.

Even when the principal were replaced, it might not be that much work for a chapter leader. Gross negligence can be grounds for the 3020a process, which seeks to terminate the employment of teachers, and those hearings take place outside the building. Luckily for me, the only termination hearing I’d likely have to attend would be my own.

In the real world, when our school faced a crisis, we chose to fight it in the press. We got our school covered in the Times, in the Post, in the News, and in local papers. Eventually Bloomberg and Klein personally acknowledged us on network news, and we made an agreement to reverse our overcrowding.

Of course, we were fighting for survival. Moskowitz still has many schools that aren’t closing, and several set to open despite her most recent setback. She’s got corporate supporters with deep pockets, and a media that can’t even be bothered with cursory research.

We were working on a shoestring, and fighting to maintain our school as one of the best in the city, or even the country. We never for a single second considered using our students as pawns.

We’re here to help our students. The talking heads can jabber about what they like, but we are the real deal. We don’t play games with our data and we don’t toss out kids we find inconvenient. We keep those kids and help them.

That’s our job. Eva Moskowitz, from everything I see and hear, has another job altogether. And Governor Cuomo, while relentlessly cutting public school budgets all over the state, sees fit to stand publicly and support it. If he’s really a “student lobbyist,” he ought to work for all students, rather than only those subsidized by the wealthy and powerful friends of Eva Moskowitz.