Sunday, March 1, 2009
Bloomberg & Klein Send the State Assembly A Message
Today's New York Times covers the Harlem Education Fair including School Chancellor Joel Klein's "impassioned" speech defending charter schools. Klein links the continued proliferation of charters to the renewal of mayoral control of the schools now being considered by the Assembly. The Times also confirms that PS 241 in Manhattan's District 3 will be replaced with a branch of the Eva Moskowitz charter chain, Harlem Success Academy.
What's news here is not just a new charter school opening but that the Bloomberg administration will convert a public school to a charter school without a majority vote of the parent body as required by state law. The elimination of the public school will also require the neighborhood to be rezoned to reassign children to other schools left by the gap created by 241's closure. The administration has signaled that it will not seek the approval for rezoning from Distirct 3's Community Education Council, also required by state education law.
Clearly there is a message here. It was only a few weeks ago that members of the Assembly heavily criticized both the style and substance of Klein's management of the schools at a Manhattan hearing. In fact, PS 241 sits in the district of Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, the Education Committee member who captivated the hearing audience with his incisive questioning and witty responses to the usual DOE deflections. By openly flouting the law, Bloomberg and Klein are making it clear they are above any law and will do precisely as they please.