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Success Academy Founder Says She’s Ready To Take On Mayor De Blasio

Moskowitz: 'We're Not Going To Take It Lying Down,' Suggests Civil Disobedience

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools is about to get a whole lot nastier.

The founder of the three schools he denied rent-free space said Wednesday she’s ready to fight. She’s even considering civil disobedience, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

First there was the visual and political attack — 11,000 charter kids and families in Albany protesting de Blasio’s charter policy that they call heavy handed. Now there’s a new front to the war. The director of the three Success Academy schools denied classroom space for next year told Kramer she’s not going to take the mayor’s actions lying down.

“We are not sending these kids to failing schools. We’re not going to have them thrown out on the street and whatever we have to do we are going to do to make sure that these kids can graduate from middle school and then go to one great, great high school,” Eva Moskowitz said.

Kramer asked Moskowitz, who spent part of the day at Harlem Success Academy 4 — the school the mayor wants to shut down with no place for its 210 kids to go — what she will do to stop the de Blasio juggernaut against her schools. After all, her schools were the only ones denied approval.

“We’re not going to take it lying down,” Moskowitz said. “We’re reviewing all our options. Maybe there’s a legal strategy here. Maybe it’s civil disobedience. We’re not going to just abandon so many families. We just don’t do that.”

Moskowitz argues that her schools dramatically outperform public schools in the areas.

The pass rate at Success Academy 4 for math was 96 percent. Three other nearby schools had pass rates of 3 percent to 8 percent.

Success had a 53 percent pass rate in English, while the other schools’ pass rate ranged from 6 percent to 9 percent.

When Kramer asked her why the mayor seems to have a special vendetta against her she said she didn’t know, but she did point out that several organizations that support de Blasio, from Communities for Change to the teachers union, have not been friends of the charter movement.

“And if the mayor has some sort of beef with me, I really don’t know what it is. Don’t take it out on the kids. I mean that’s just not fair,” Moskowitz said.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina was at P.S. 154 in Queens, hosting a town hall meeting for parents and defended Mayor De Blasio’s decision, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

“There are five schools that have locations and a heck of a lot more in network. This was a situation where decisions were made and high schools belong in high schools as far as I’m concerned,” Farina said.

However, Farina said that she has defended charter schools in certain situations.

Moskowitz also responded to the mayor’s chief criticism of charter schools — that they are elitist and don’t take learning-disabled students or those with English language problems. She said that the 22 Success schools have 15 percent who are learning disabled and 14 percent with English issues.

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