NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio did a 180 in the battle over a Harlem charter school on Friday and then got “schooled” by the state’s top educator, the chancellor of the state Board of Regents.
Chancellor Merryl Tisch gave an exclusive one-on-one interview to CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
De Blasio was sent to detention by Tisch, who was highly critical of a key component of the mayor’s charter school agenda – to deny charters free rent.
“I’m tired of the sideshow,” Tisch said. “They should be treated as other public schools, funded as other public schools, allowed to use the space, allowed to use the utilities as other public schools and we should stop having a real estate fight about schools.”
The state chancellor’s remarks came as the mayor reversed course, flip-flopped about his decision to deny space to Harlem Success Academy, throwing 194 mostly minority kids out on the street.
“We’re looking for space for the children who were displaced,” NYC School Chancellor Carmen Farina said.
But the charters don’t seem to be taking de Blasio or Farina at their word. On Friday they released a new television ad that is to run this weekend.
“He’s taking away a public school where the fifth graders had the highest math scores in the entire state and scored twice the city average in reading. Mayor de Blasio, don’t take away our children’s future; save our school,” the ad says.
But that’s not all. The state’s top educator had more advice for the mayor.
“If they don’t put the charter debate to rest it will continue to be the only issue that is discussed,” Tisch said. “It will dominate unless you choose to turn the page and start talking about the essentials of helping every child in every classroom, every teacher in every district.”
And despite saying only days ago that the Harlem Success Academy students were “on their own,” the city schools chancellor said Friday she misspoke.
“I shouldn’t have said it. Did I mean it? No,” Farina said.
On Friday night, some pointed out a flaw in the mayor’s logic of denying free rent to charters funded by hedge funds and other private sector businesses. De Blasio’s son, Dante, goes to Brooklyn Tech, an elite public school that reaps $13 million in endowments from the private sector.
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