Aren’t there some fine lawyers who would, preferably with pro-bono work, support families who have children with disabilities, all kinds of disabilities, or children who have second language hurdles, or the really really poor children, to sue the charter operators and their rich donors for denying these students a slot in their elite charter schools?
Poor New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. On one side he has charter school advocates, along with Morning Joe stars Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, angrily picking at him for not making room for every single Success Academy Eva Moskowitz demands. Of 17 charter schools, 14 were approved and 5 of those were Success Academies. Only three of her co-location applications were rejected.
The Success parents, possibly rounded-up to rally in Albany, are threatening multiple lawsuits claiming denial of their student’s civil rights. These folks don’t seem to care about the children with severe disabilities they will push aside in the PS 811 Mickey Mantle School.
Does someone need to tell them The Hunger Games was a frightening, pretend movie and not a prototype for the future?
Hazel Dukes president of the NY NAACP said: “This lawsuit is an outrageous and insulting attempt by Wall Street hedge fund managers to hijack the language of civil rights in their shameless political attack on Bill de Blasio.”
Nor did those at the rally seem to care about what I would call the real civil rights issue—why charter schools are primarily African American or Hispanic. But I forget. I’m not still living back in the ‘80s when some attempt existed to integrate schools—when people remembered Brown v. Board of Education.
On the other side, the anti-charter folks are mad as hell at the Mayor too, because he reversed his decision to quit helping charter schools, claiming he now will search for space for the Success Academies. These folks don’t want any more charter schools, and they are suing against the Mayor assigning co-locations for public and charter schools. Well I am with them sort of. I, for the most part, don’t like charter schools either.
But sue the Mayor? I dunno. I don’t think that is a good idea. Many have held out hope on this new Mayor’s positive stance on helping public schools in NYC. He certainly chose an experienced and nice Chancellor in Carmen Fariña. I think they are trying their best. I say give them a chance.
Personally, I’d like to see some other people sued. Can it be done? If not, why not?
Charter school operators and their advocates keep insisting charter schools are public schools and they even often put the word “public” next to their name. But most of us know the only thing public about charters is that they take public funds from cash-strapped real public schools—leaving them in worse conditions.
For a reminder, here is why chain charter schools, many for-profit, are not really public schools:
- They do not serve students with disabilities like they should
- …or second language students
- …or really really poor students.
- After the initial lottery these schools have high attrition rates. They get rid of students who don’t toe the “zero tolerance” line.
- If parents don’t do what they are told their student must leave the school.
- And, parents and the community, the public, have no input into how the school is run.
So charter schools do as they please with extra tax dollars and extra money from big donors.
And they get rid of the most challenging kids. Why that’s anything for Eva, Joe and Mika et al. to crow about is anybody’s guess.
I’m asking, isn’t a lawsuit in order? Hey ACLU where are you?
It would seem like the New York City, Eva Moskowitz/Success Academy controversy would be a great place to start. Instead of suing Mayor de Blasio, sue Eva and her troupe of wealthy businesspeople.
Sue them, or better yet, make them assimilate the displaced students with severe disabilities.
James Merriman of the New York City Charter School Center said on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes that they were “getting there” when it came to enrolling special needs kids in the charter schools.
Well here is the perfect opportunity for them to get there even faster! Automatically enroll all the PS 811 Mickey Mantle students from special education in the Success Academies! And make sure they get the credentialed special education teachers to work with those students too.
In addition, don’t allow the Success Academies to expel any student unless they pose a real threat—you know—like the real public schools are supposed to do.
If Success Academies swear they are public schools and take tax dollars, people like Moskowitz (with her $475,000 salary) should have to prove her school can teach all students, even the ones they don’t like?
Once they do that—then, and only then, will we be able to honestly compare charter schools to real public schools.
If they reject any student—sue them—and/or remove all public funds! They shouldn’t receive a nickel more in tax dollars!
There is already one lawsuit on behalf of the students not accepted in charter schools. It is against the Louisiana Department of Education alleging that charter schools in New Orleans deny access to students with disabilities. Perhaps there are other suits I don’t know about.
But we need more. A lot more. Across the country. We need lawsuits not against the government, but directly against the chain for-profit managers and their Board of Directors. That’s where the money is. That’s what just might make these people pause and rethink what they are doing.
This is America! No public school should deny any child an education. All schools receiving public funds should teach all children. If they fail to do so, they should be taken to court.