Newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made waves, recently. He nixed the establishment of two new charter schools and halted the expansion of another.
Widespread protest followed, with over ten thousand people showing up to express their frustration and ire. The charter chain under de Blasio attack, Success Academy, has been very successful increasing student test scores, and can boast a waiting list of five applicants for every school opening.
So why would the mayor be against them? What would make him so against this non-radical form of education reform?
Well, de Blasio received the overwhelming support of teachers’ unions during his campaign for office. Teachers’ unions are no fans of charter schools, which gain some of their advantages by not being hampered by union contracts.
Sure, the mayor’s heavy-handed slap at charter schools may simply be a political payoff to the teachers’ unions, but couldn’t there be something more to it?
Last May he directed his metaphorical guns at the head of the Success Academy, former New York councilwoman Eva Mosokowitz. “It’s time for Eva Moskowitz to stop having the run of the place,” he promised the United Federation of Teachers at a mayoral candidates forum. “She has to stop being tolerated, enabled, supported.”
Knee-capping the less politically muscular charter school folks to please the immensely powerful public education unions is indeed classic patronage politics. But maybe de Blasio’s personal animus also shows his true colors, his commitment to undercut any successful competition to the governmental way of doing things.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.