Contributing RP Eva Moskowitz, a former New York City Councilwoman, has announced plans to expand her nationally-recognized charter school network into Brooklyn:
Ms. Moskowitz’s push into well-heeled neighborhoods comes at a critical time for her nine-school Success Charter Network, which she launched in Harlem in 2006 and expects to grow to 40 schools across the city in the next few years. Charter school supporter Michael Bloomberg has two years left as mayor, and his successor might not be as eager to provide the city-owned space that new schools often need.
Charters have been elbowing their way into the city landscape since the 1990s by offering an education lifeline to high-poverty areas desperate for quality schools. Now, Ms. Moskowitz, whose abrasive style has made her a lightning rod for charter opponents, is pitching her schools to lawyers, doctors and other professionals.
It’s a fundamental shift for Ms. Moskowitz and the charter school movement. While she has braved five years of slings and arrows, her network’s future—and that of other charter schools—may hinge on their ability to build constituencies in affluent, influential areas.
“The political significance of this cannot be ignored,” said Steven Brill, whose book Class Warfare chronicles the school reform battles raging across the country. “Once you have charter schools flourishing in middle-class neighborhoods, they become impossible to oppose.”
Ms. Moskowitz gives an educational, rather than political, rationale. “We’ve got to have more, not fewer, alternatives to a profoundly broken education system,” she said. “The clock is ticking against our kids.”