Success Academy boss Eva Moskowitz accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of blockading low-income parents from the same school choice privileges exercised by more affluent New Yorkers on Wednesday.
The broadside came amid a renewed brawl between the network and City Hall over space provision for 250 southeast Queens middle schoolers.
Success Academy argues that the city has neglected its legal obligation to provide seats for the students next year and that they’re now educationally homeless.
“If you are white and affluent you get school choice as a matter of fact,” Moskowitz said at a press conference Wednesday. “You are wealthy enough to move into a district that has good schools. Or you’re wealthy enough to pay for an independent school. Or you send your child to a parochial school. Charters provide a choice to otherwise disenfranchised parents.”
Queens Success Academy mom Yvesnande Bureau ripped the city for failing to furnish space for her two kids next year — and said that her agency to capably choose their school should be respected.
“We shouldn’t have to go through all this stress just so that our kids can learn,” she said Wednesday. “We shouldn’t have to do this. They are the ones that are suffering. Why? We are taxpaying New Yorkers. We live in Queens. This is our borough. We should have school. We should have choice where our kids go to school.”
Moskowitz asserted that Success Academies represent a lifeline for low-income families in a city where roughly half of all students failed to score at proficient levels on the most recent math and English state exams.
“They’re kind of fed up,” she said. “Why shouldn’t parents get to select a school for their child? Our parents at Hollis have made that choice and you can’t say they’re wrong, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’ve made that choice and we have to respect that choice. No one is compelling them to come to Hollis. Parents have made a choice.”
Success Academy has long produced strong achievement metrics and lengthy waiting lists for entry.
As enrollment at the city’s traditional public schools fell by 4 percent last year, the overall charter population climbed by 10,000.
While they remain overwhelmingly African American and Hispanic, the steepest enrollment hikes this year came from Asian and white DOE defectors.
Asian charter enrollment popped by 16 percent while the white population jumped by 11 percent, according to the figures.
The number of Hispanic charter school students increased by 9 percent while black enrollment rose by 5 percent.
Critics of Success Academy accuse it of forcing out challenging or unruly students and meting out excessive discipline in pursuit of attractive academic outcomes.
Others contend that the public monies that go to Success and other charters would be better used by the Department of Education to improve conditions at traditional public schools.
The DOE said last week that Success Academy could not remain in the space it was assigned this year due to capacity constraints.
Spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon said that the onus was on the network to locate and secure classroom space for their kids.
“We’ve gone above and beyond for Success Academy and they have had years to develop a viable, fiscally responsible long-term plan for their school community,” she said.
Success Academy Laura Asseafea said Wednesday that the DOE was legally obligated to provide the charter with space.