View Full Version : Manhattan-UWS Hype Fuels Charter Fight - The truth behind Eva Moskowitz’s battle to open an UWS charter school

01-20-2011, 05:23 PM
This from West Side Spirit (http://westsidespirit.com/2011/01/20/hype-fuels-charter-fight/) by Josh Rogers:
An Upper West Side father whose child was zoned out of P.S. 87 told Eva Moskowitz he was “shocked” when he heard the loud chanting against the charter school she hopes to open in the neighborhood. “It was like a civil rights movement,” he said.

The father, who had just taken a tour of one of Moskowitz’s Harlem Success academies, probably did not realize how on the mark he was.

As Moskowitz gears up for the final round of another battle to open a charter school, race is a central part of the debate. Her opponents point to the mounds of marketing materials showing “lots of blond- or red-headed kids,” as Lea Manfour, co-president of the P.S. 75 PTA, put it. “I think I saw one Hispanic-looking child.”

The fight to open a Success Academy Charter School on West 84th Street has triggered raw, emotional reactions, but there are signs that some of the parties are beginning to tone down the rhetoric as it nears its Feb. 1 conclusion. Then again, it would have been hard to turn it up any more. Councilwoman Gale Brewer said a few months ago that she would “strangle” parents who took their children out of P.S. 75—a comment captured on YouTube.

Moskowitz, CEO of Success Charter Network, said, “I don’t intend to be bullied.” She has won and lost charter fights before, but said this is one of the most vehement campaigns she has ever faced, rating it 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Jeff Henig, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, said it is not surprising Moskowitz is now facing more resistance than she did in Harlem.

“In general, charter schools have had a much tougher time finding anchors in more affluent communities like in the suburbs, where parents are much more protective of their neighborhood schools,” he said.

And in particular the Upper West Side, traditionally a base of liberal thinking, does not seem to be a fertile place at all to start a charter, a public school that is privately run, typically without a union contract.

A Threat to Schools?

A laundry list of arguments—some of which contradict each other—have been thrown against the proposed charter. Some PTA leaders argue the school will attract wealthier, predominantly white children in the southern part of the district, while other leaders say there will be many more from the northern part who will further exacerbate the overcrowding problems below 96th Street.

Although kindergarten waiting lists are expected again this year at some neighborhood schools, opponents say the greater need in the coming years will be for middle and high school space.

One of the main arguments against is that not many District 3 children will be able to attend. Another is that they will.

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