A couple of days ago Cayla Bamberger of the New York Post revealed that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg granted two charter networks, Success Academy PCS and Harlem Children’s Zone PCS, $100 million each in order to help them grow to accept more students. The money is only the beginning of Mr. Bloomberg’s investment in these alternative schools. His goal is to spend $750 million nationwide. The former Mayor told the Post:
“I don’t know that 30 years from now, when they don’t have the kind of life that we’d want for them you can explain to them what happened and why we were asleep at the switch.”
My point exactly. The pandemic has created a magnificent opportunity for charters. I do not understand why pro-charter organizations are not buying up vacant office buildings to house schools. I’m sure there are great deals to be had in the current marketplace. Is there no one in D.C. who will be embarrassed in 30 years that they did not act when they had the chance?
The DC Public Charter School is currently on a year-long pause for considering new schools and the expansion on existing ones. This needs to end now with the result being that it is simpler for new charters to open and easier to add more seats for those that are already operating.
I found interesting that the Washington Post’s Perry Stein found the need in her recent story about D.C. middle schools to talk about Mayor Bowser’s view of the expansion of the charter sector. The reporter wrote:
“While charter schools are independent, the mayor can have a role in shaping the sector and the Bowser administration has been considered charter-friendly. Bowser appoints the D.C. Public Charter School Board, which authorizes which charter schools can open and which must close for low-performance. She said she speaks with all her appointees about the need to approve only charters that address an unmet need in the city.”
Ms. Stein contradicts herself. She claims that charters are independent yet simultaneously points out that they are overseen by the PCSB whose members are selected by the Mayor. But this is slightly off topic. I just love the quote that Ms. Stein includes in the article from past charter board chair Rick Cruz regarding the growth of charters while many DCPS school are under enrolled.
“It means little to us and even less to many D.C. families to hear that there are thousands of seats in many schools that boast poor academic results.”
Right on! It is now time to wake up from our Covid-19 lull. Come on Mr. Bloomberg, District charters are ready to accept your cash. Who else is out there that wants to pitch in?