New York City Approves Moskowitz Charter Plan

New York City education panel backs plan to give a charter space inside a building already shared by three other public schools.

New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy has handed a significant victory to a network of charter schools run by former city councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, expanding its reach to into the more affluent parts of the city, writes Fernanda Santos at the New York Times.

The new school is set to be introduced in affluent Cobble Hill. This will be the 12th school of Ms. Moskowitz in the city, but only the second in such a well-to-do enclave.

The teacher’s union was vocal in its disapproval, and it was the opponents that held court for much of the meeting at Newtown High School in Corona, Queens where it was decided to give Moskowitz the ok.

The meeting took place far outside the communities affected by the plans voted on by the panel, which makes the boisterousness of the crowd all the more noteworthy.

One opponent to the plan held a sign reading, “How dare you?”

The building that the Cobble Hill school will occupy already has a school for students with disabilities and two schools serving grades 6 through 12: the School for Global Studies and the School for International Studies.

However, according to the city’s Department of Education, there are still 700 seats available in the building.

However many don’t believe the Department’s claim that there is enough room for another school. One opponent, Jeff Tripp, a math and special education teacher at International Studies, pointed out that the building’s gym was so overused that high school students had a hard time meeting graduation requirements in physical education.

“Our students spend hours in the building and for many of them it’s home,” Mr. Tripp said.

“What you’re proposing is a home invasion.”

Ms. Moskowitz said her network, Success Academy Charter Schools, should be able to serve both poor and upper class students. Cobble Hill is situated in an area that has many desirable elementary schools at or near capacity, as well as million-dollar homes blocks from public housing developments.

“While there are a lot of charter operators that may serve exclusively the most disadvantaged kids, I think there’s a value in having an integrated school, both racially and economically,” Ms. Moskowitz said.

“Choice shouldn’t be just for poor families.”

The school is set to open in the summer for a modest 190 students in kindergarten and first grade.

Another one of Moskowitz’s charters was approved by the panel at the meeting. This one set to be located in buildings occupied by district schools in the poor Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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