Bill de Blasio: Charter school champion?
- A new report released Monday by Democrats for Education Reform says that "it turns out that [New York City Mayor Bill] de Blasio has arguably done more to help public charters in three months than [U.S. House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor has done the entire 13 years he’s been in Congress."
- According to the brief, Republicans like Cantor have not worked publicly or behind the scenes to secure federal spending on charter schools, whereas de Blasio approved 36 of 49 Bloomberg-approved charter school "co-locations" within existing school facilities.
- Also cited: The recently passed New York State budget that funds de Blasio's pre-K expansion — while also using state money to fund facilities for charter schools.
It's worth noting that Democrats for Education Reform is a pro-charter school political group when considering this report. As such, it's in DFER's interest to call de Blasio's approach to charters into question, given that it currently finds itself existing in a New York City where its recommendations aren't embraced like they were by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. Still, de Blasio has seemingly lightened up on his charter school rhetoric, though this is more likely due to his need to combat the idea that he doesn't care about charters or the kids in them at all. Waffling on the issue might not make some of his staunchest supporters happy, but it was also a necessary political move for the aforementioned pre-kindergarten expansion — a move arguably more important than making charter schools pay rent.
Ultimately, de Blasio's concerns with charters likely lies in their tendency to be used by for-profit companies looking to privatize public education and make a quick buck off of the nation's youth. At the end of the day, there's a difference between setting out to shut down every charter school in the city and wanting to make sure public education funding is spent on schools that aren't accountable to taxpayers.
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