De Blasio Goes After The Schools

While it appears that New York mayor Bill de Blasio doesn't have time to deal with the day to day details of running a major American city such as ensuring the snow gets cleared from the streets, the garbage gets collected, and the schools are closed during a heavy snowstorm, he certainly seems to have plenty of time to dismantle one of the best things his city has going for it, that being its charter schools.

But what do you expect from an unrepentant old-school communist? It's all about making sure everyone is equal, even if that equality reduces everyone to the lowest common denominator. Of course, being an old style communist, he also believes that some people are more equal than others, displaying that by pushing “Do as I say, not as I do” as an excuse to shut down a successful education system. Why would he do such a thing? It's simply, really:

He's beholden to the teachers union which wants to destroy something it has no control over.

Their biggest obstacle? Eva Moskowitz, who runs the city's charter school program.

How did Ms. Moskowitz, a hero to thousands of New Yorkers of modest means whose children have been able to get a better education than their local public schools offered, end up becoming public enemy No. 1?

She is the city's most prominent, and vocal, advocate for charter schools, and therefore a threat to the powerful teachers union that had been counting the days until the de Blasio administration took over last month from the charter-friendly Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Assailed by Mayor de Blasio and union leaders, Ms. Moskowitz is fighting back with typically sharp elbows.

"A progressive Democrat should be embracing charters, not rejecting them," she says. "It's just wacky."

"We think one of the sins of American education is intellectually underestimating children," she says. "It's so much more engaging for kids when they're challenged." Her other complaint about many traditional schools: "It's incredibly boring." While those public schools don't have her flexibility to design a curriculum and hire and fire teachers, "engagement doesn't cost any money. It can be done tomorrow if the adults decide that boredom is not acceptable and you embrace a curriculum that's interesting and rigorous."

Such astringent assessments of public education-as-usual are fighting words in New York and other cities where schools find themselves struggling to explain chronic underperformance.

As our history has proved again and again, it isn't how much money is spent on education that defines a good education, it's how it's spent. Unfortunately too many of the teachers unions seem to think the only answer is more money, especially for them. (That's not necessarily true of the teachers, but of the union leadership.)

One has to wonder whether de Blasio will succeed in dismantling the part of his city's education system that actually works. After all, he's a firm believer in equality, particularly when it comes to mediocrity in education.

Let's just hope that New Yorkers will realize they've made a horrible mistake by electing this Marxist wrecker and will make sure he's a one term mayor. If not, then the rest of us will watch New York become nothing more than another Detroit and see most of its boroughs and neighborhoods become a ghost town like the South Bronx of old.