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De Blasio On Charter School Students: ‘We Need Them To Succeed’

Mayor de Blasio delivers a speech on charter schools at Riverside Church, March 23, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Mayor de Blasio delivers a speech on charter schools at Riverside Church, March 23, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Just weeks after moving to prevent their expansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered an olive branch to the charter school movement.

“We made some decisions in the last weeks striving for fairness. But I have to tell you, I didn’t measure up when it came to explaining those decisions to the people of this city. So let me start to right the ship now,” said de Blasio. “Our mission is to create a city in which, regardless of zip code, your neighborhood public school is a great option for your child.”

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, the mayor took his conciliatory message on the future of New York City’s school system to the pulpit at Riverside Church on Sunday.

“I will reach out to all of the children in traditional public schools, in charter schools, in religious schools. They are all our children, they all deserve a solution,” de Blasio said. “Six percent of our children in the charters, they are our children, we need them to succeed. Ninety-four percent of the children in traditional public schools, they are our children, we need them to succeed.”

The mayor directed his remarks to charter school advocates and at state lawmakers in Albany.

They’ve been at odds with the mayor over funding and de Blasio’s plan to close down three charter schools this coming fall.

“It doesn’t matter what school they went to, they will be our future together,” said the mayor.

Richard Berlin of Dream Charter School said he’s encouraged by what he heard.

“I think it was important at this time for him to come out and make a statement about the universality in public education and our shared ends,” he told Miller.

Last month, de Blasio decided to reverse a decision not to allow three Harlem charter schools to use space in public school buildings even though it was promised to them by former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The move enraged charter parents and advocates, who have taken their case to the airwaves and to Albany, where they staged a rally.

De Blasio did allow 14 other charter schools to keep the space given to them by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The three that lost their space all are part of the Success Academy Charter School system, led by de Blasio’s longtime political rival, Eva Moskowitz.

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