NAACP defends position on charter schools

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 6/14/2011, 1:41 p.m.
NAACP defends position on charter schools

The AmNews interviewed Harlem Success Academy (HSA) CEO Eva Moskowitz, where she was very defensive, asked the reporter to turn off their recorder, asking if this was going to be "a gotcha interview." One of the things Moskowitz, who is white and previously represented the Upper East Side in the New York City Council, is being accused of is pitting Black parents against the NAACP. When asked about this issue, Moskowitz said that she is "insulted" by that accusation, and while she admits that she has pushed parents to aggressively advocate and protest, she claims the rally was their decision to undertake, not hers.

"Parents work hard to find schools for their parents," she said. "We have a dual mission of advocacy and civic engagement, and we talk to parents and tell them to stand up for their rights."

Perkins said that Blacks have fought for equal education for decades, and that the inequality in co-located charter schools is a new battle worth fighting.

"Co-location is a form of segregation," Perkins said. "When you put a wall between one kid and another kid, and they are from the same neighborhood and one kid has superior facilities and the other kid has inferior facilities, that's second-class treatment."

Moskowitz said that it's her priority to run great schools. All HSA schools are co-located in public schools. Moskowitz said that zoned schools get thousands of dollars more than charter schools, and charter school student occupy less physical space than a zoned child does.

"It's kids in high performing charter schools who are being discriminated against," she said. "I don't see anyone saying, 'Oh my God, those poor kids.' What about the time my kids have to eat lunch? At HSA 2, the only time the principal would give us for 5-year-olds was 1:30 p.m."

Moskowitz added that in her schools, students don't get much library time because books are already in classrooms, which she admits was her choice.

Moskowitz said that if the NAACP and the UFT are successful with their lawsuit, close to 7,000 current Harlem Success Academy students could be affected, and many more students who are slated to be admitted under the expansion plans of her education operation would not be able to attend her charter schools.