On Sunday, March 23, 2014 in a speech at Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, faced with declining public opinion poll numbers, made nice to charter school companies and their wealthy backers. He told congregants that his administration and the charter movement have a common goal and share common ground. But de Blasio should not have made nice. They do not share common ground. Many charters, including those not-for-profits operating by leading de Blasio critics, are about making money for top executives. Educating children, when it actually happens, is at best a by-product.
De Blasio backed off in his criticism of charter school companies and their wealthy backers following a $3.6 million television advertising blitz that accused him of abandoning quality education for inner-city Black and Latino children. The campaign was orchestrated by Eva Moskowitz, founder and chief executive officer of the Success Academy Charter Schools, who has a number of wealthy and politically powerful backers. Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at a pro-charter rally organized by Moskowitz and targeted extra funds fort charters in the state budget. Moskowitz and Success Academy received financial support from 2007 to 2013 from among others the Robin Hood ($1 million), William Simon ($75,000), Tiger ($850,000), Walmart ($4.6 million), MRM ($400,000) and Broad ($11.4 million) Foundations, as well as donations from hedge fund and corporate managers Paul Singer (no relation to me), David Tepper, and Daniel Loeb.