Bill de Blasio and NYC progressives should be mortified. The city’s public school system is failing the students who need it the most—poor black children.
In New York City, charter schools have a record of both achievement and clear popularity. Despite a waiting list of 48,300 eager students “clamoring” to get in, Mayor de Blasio continues to undermine charter schools wherever he can, reports William McGurn in the WSJ.
Only last Friday (the mayor) missed the deadline to provide space for the Hollis Middle School, a Success Academy charter in Queens, leaving its students, teachers and parents stranded. Given the mayor’s obsession with racial equity, it’s worth noting that roughly 200 of the 250 Hollis kids the mayor left in the lurch are black.
NYC Public Education Under de Blasio:
- The majority of the city’s black and Latino students can’t read or do math at grade level.
- The city’s poor and minority students do better at charters than at traditional public schools. Alas, instead of trying to fix the public schools where kids aren’t learning, the mayor has made war on the ones where they are.
Meanwhile, by some measures the racial achievement gap in New York City has widened under Mr. de Blasio. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, from 2013 to 2019 the black-white gap for fourth-graders increased six points in math and two in reading.
The more successful charter schools are, the more Mayor de Blasio seems to resent them, observes Mr. McGurn.
(Mayor de Blasion) resents them because they don’t excuse failure and they demonstrate that all kids can learn given the right school, including schools in which black children are surrounded by other black children. It’s why he particularly resents Success Academy charters, arguably the best public schools in all of New York.
Success Academy reports that the typical racial breakdown for one of its charters is 60.8% black and 34.4% Latino (against 25.5% black and 40.6% Latino in the city’s traditional public schools). And students are selected by lottery. A 2017 headline in New York magazine sums it up well: “Charters Didn’t Cause Segregation. They’re a Solution for Its Victims.”
Certainly no one wants segregation. But neither should it be used to excuse public schools that fail to provide children of color with the education they need to claim their place in the American dream, much less to deny these children the option of a good charter school. The mayor’s focus on integration conveniently deflects attention from this larger failure.
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