John Merrow reports that Eva Moskowitz is going on the offensive to counter bad PR of the past few months:



“After many months of intense scrutiny and criticism, Dr. Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academies Charter School Network, has gone on the offensive. In this effort, she has the help of an expensive PR firm, her traditional ally the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Club of New York, and–surprisingly–WNYC reporter Beth Fertig.



“The recent criticism began last October, when the PBS NewsHour exposed her practice of multiple out of school suspensions of 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds. (My last piece for the NewsHour before I retired.) Later in October Kate Taylor of the New York Times revealed that one of her schools had a ‘got to go’ list of students to be dropped. Moskowitz did not fire the principal. In an electrifying report in February, Taylor wrote about a video of a Success Academy teacher humiliating a child.


“Dr. Moskowitz has retained Mercury LLC, the same PR firm that is advising Michigan’s embattled Governor, Rick Snyder. She emailed her staff accusing the New York Times of a ‘vendetta’ against her. On Monday, March 14, the Wall Street Journal published her op-ed, “Orderliness in School: What a Concept”. “Over the past year the Times’s principal education reporter has devoted 34% of the total word count for her education stories, including four of her seven longest articles, to unrelentingly negative coverage of Success,” Moskowitz wrote.


“But her main point was that she and Success Academies represent the last line of defense against violent and disruptive behavior in our schools. Did the PR firm suggest she tar her critics with the old reliable “commie-pinko” brush? (Making it parenthetical was a nice touch.)



[She wrote:]


“The unstated premise is that parents are susceptible to being duped because they are poor and unsophisticated. (Once upon a time, this view was known as “false consciousness”—the Marxist critique of how the proletariat could be misled by capitalist society.)”


Merrow writes:


“The Harvard Club of New York is, perhaps inadvertently, also helping Moskowitz. It has scheduled an evening presentation on Monday, March 29th , to be followed by a panel discussion. The blurb describing the event makes no mention of any criticism. Here’s a sample:



“Eva Moskowitz founded Success Academy Charter Schools in 2006 with the dual mission of building world-class schools for New York City children and serving as a catalyst and a national model for education reform to help change public policies that prevent so many children from having access to opportunity. Firmly believing that inner-city students deserve the same high-quality education as their more affluent peers, and convinced that all children, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic background, can achieve at the highest levels, she opened the first Success Academy in Harlem and today operates 34 schools in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Success Academy continues to grow at a rapid pace and will be hiring more than 900 teachers and other personnel before the next academic year.



“After Moskowitz’s presentation, a discussion will be moderated by a ‘Senior Reporter’ from The 74, which is not a journalistic organization but an advocacy group. The panelists are James Merriman, President, New York City Charter School Center; Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute; and Charles Sahm, Director, Education Policy, Manhattan Institute, all strong charter school advocates who have publicly supported Moskowitz and Success Academies.



“What do you suppose they will ‘debate’? How about this for a tough question: The New York Times: Threat or Menace?”


Read the rest and view the links. Merrow is still reporting although he claims to have retired