Charter School Parents, Opponents Sue NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to rescind approval of three charter schools has attracted the ire of much of the state and multiple lawsuits from parents standing up for their children's education. It has also attracted the wrath of the far left, who are suing de Blasio for not shutting down more charter schools.
CBS reports that parents of students at Success Academy are collectively suing the mayor for refusing the school access to public property, effectively shutting down the three institutions and evicting 192 students. Echoing Chirlane McCray, de Blasio's wife, who declared that education is "the defining civil rights issue of our day," the parents are suing de Blasio for violating their children's civil rights in federal court. They are also suing the Department of Education as a challenge to de Blasio's reversal of predecessor Michael Bloomberg's approval of those schools. The mayor said this past weekend that he would work to find more space for the schools, a reversal of his original shutdown.
That reversal has brought him a second series of suits from a flank of education reactionaries to the left of the mayor. While de Blasio did shut down several Success Academy schools, he approved 36 of the schools that Bloomberg had also approved, 14 of them charter schools, which outraged community advocates who wish to shut down the charter school system entirely. According to the New York Post, Public Advocate Letitia James and Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito are suing against the assigned co-locations for public and charter schools.
The first poll of the de Blasio administration, out last week, suggests that New York City's voters are less than happy with the disorganized and polarizing administration so far. Parents, in particular, have been angered by seemingly arbitrary decisions of when to open and close schools, as he forced children to attend public school during one of the city's large blizzards. Adding insult to injury, the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe gave de Blasio a tough time on charter schools, and host Joe Scarborough joked that de Blasio's choice to inflict multiple snowstorms on New York City was "crappy" and reminded viewers that he warned that electing de Blasio would ensure the city was "going to hell." At this rate, we can expect passersby to regularly fling rotten fruit de Blasio's way by the end of next week.
De Blasio's current charter school woes began in earnest in early February when he warned he would impose a "moratorium" on the number of charter schools in the city. He followed up the claim by shutting down the Success Academy schools and rankling both sides of the aisle, turning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo so far against him that Cuomo attended an anti-de Blasio charter school rally and gave a rousing speech in favor of the parents.