Success Academy’s Eva Moskowitz rules out a run for mayor
As nearby protesters chanted, Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Academy charter school network, announced on Thursday that she would not be running for mayor of New York City in 2017.
“Obviously there’s been a lot of speculation about whether I am running for mayor. Some have even said that I have some sort of secret plot – that there is some sort of conspiracy, that I’m really just opening up schools in order to further my political career,” she told reporters on the steps of City Hall.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people who run for mayor by opening up schools,” she said. “I also don’t know too many people who run for mayor after tangling with the Democratic Party establishment and the most powerful political interest group, namely the Teachers Union.”
Moskowitz, a former City Councilmember whose schools are heavily backed by Wall Street hedge-finders, said as recently as August that she had not ruled out a mayoral run.
On Thursday she said she had no one specific in mind, but would support a candidate who would address the “broken” educational system.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Moskowitz have butted heads over funding and space for her charter schools. Many traditional public school parents have complained that co-located charter schools suck space and resources away from their own children.
Mayor de Blasio is carrying out his own “transformational change” at city public schools, including a community schools initiative to support underserved students and an extension of universal pre-K to all city children.
“I have long been a champion of pre-K,” Moskowitz said. But, she added, “The discussion of quality has been almost non-existent.”
At times being drowned out by the hoots of the protestors, Moskowitz said that this was her chance to do for education “what Apple did with computing for the iPhone, what Google is doing with driverless cars. This kind of transformation change may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I believe our kids are worth it.”
A charter school group with a heavy Success presence, Families for Excellent Schools (FES), organized a charter school rally in Brooklyn on Wednesday that drew nearly 15,000 participants.
FES was recently criticized for running what critics call a racist advertisement. The ad pictured a little white boy, saying he would succeed and go to college, while a little black boy, also pictured, was predicted to be trapped in a failing school and never make it to college.
On Thursday Moskowitz reiterated that the school system has experienced “massive educational failure that disproportionately affects black and brown children.”
After she left the podium, Bill Easton, with the Alliance for Quality Education, and Bertha Lewis, the president of the Black Institute, took over the press conference and called Moskowitz’s announcement a “non-announcement.”
“What we learned today was that Eva Moskowitz’s speculation that she fueled herself about running for mayor was nothing but a stalking horse,” Easton said. “And in fact, the hedge fund billionaires who have sponsored Eva Moskowitz’s efforts have already made it known they plan to run another candidate.”
Easton and Lewis said that while she was an official, Moskowitz never took on the issues of failing schools, and has run a “cynical political campaign.”
“I’ve worked under Bloomberg, under Giuliani, and at no time would Eva try to get smaller classes, or even try to get K – 3 Gifted and Talented programs,” Lewis said.
Both called on Moskowitz to remove the controversial ad.
“The racist ad attacked de Blasio’s efforts to provide services to those very students,” Easton said.
Lewis added, “It’s just a way to privatize our schools.”
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