In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has embarked on a systematic campaign to destroy the city’s burgeoning charter school movement. He’s diverting more than $200 million in funding marked for charter schools, and has also thrown hundreds of students out of their promised school buildings. He has also declared his intent to nullify arrangements that allow charters to locate in existing public schools rent-free.
The mayor’s open warfare against Eva Moskowitz, who founded a network of 22 charter schools, has all the markings of a petulant tyrant holding low-income students hostage. De Blasio has said, “There’s no way in hell Eva Moskowitz should get free rent” — as if the 6,700 students in the charter schools she runs were a mere afterthought in his personal vendetta against a fellow Democrat.
Last May, he told a teachers-union forum that Moskowitz “has to stop being tolerated, enabled, supported.” Yes, by all means, let’s not “tolerate” someone behind a movement to empower parents and students with more — and better — education choices. This woman who is making it possible for low-income kids to have an equal opportunity for a quality education must be stopped.
In Louisiana, we know a thing or two about government authorities meddling in parents’ right to choose the schools that are best for their children. President Obama’s Justice Department filed a lawsuit trying to impede our program that gives parents of low-income students in failing schools an opportunity to attend a better school. Fully nine in 10 students participating in the program are minorities, yet the Justice Department seeks to block the program on the grounds that it would lead to racial segregation. The lawsuit would be funny if it weren’t so sad — and if the lives of so many young African-American children weren’t at stake.
Lost in all the outrage manufactured by Mayor de Blasio is one simple fact: School choice works.