The charter school network Success Academy (SA) is making headlines again — this time because it has cancelled all of its pre-k classes as it heads to court over an ongoing contract dispute with the de Blasio administration.
Success Academy has refused to sign a contract with the city to run uniform pre-kindergarten classes, balking at the regulation and oversight.
The network has gone to court over the issue, but as it awaits that decision, it decided to preemptively cancel all classes for this upcoming school year.
SA Bensonhurst principal Jonathan Dant makes an appearance on the television segment, saying the network has the kids’ interests at heart.
“No, I don’t think it’s part of a political battle,” said SA Bensonhurst’s principal Jonathan Dant. “At the end of the day, what we do is best for kids and that’s the way our organization operates, that’s the way the Eva operates. It’s our mission to create world class schools for our kids that come here.”
In February, SA founder and former councilwoman Eva Moskowitch lost a battle with the mayor, when New York State education officials ruled that SA must abide by the city’s educational standards in order to receive funding. Moskowitz appealed, but preemptively cancelled all of the 2016-2017 preschool programs.
Currently there are 72 SA pre-k seats spread across five schools at stake. Three prekindergarten programs operated by Success Academy will be canceled at the end of the school year, and two other programs set to begin in August will not open, reports the New York Daily News.
Department of Education (DOE) spokeswoman Devora Kaye told outlets that the students whose classes were canceled can apply for pre-K classes at other schools.
“Every child in New York City has access to free, full-day, high-quality pre-K programs,” Kaye said. “The state upheld our important standards to ensure all programs are high quality.”
A scathing editorial in the New York Post this week places the blame squarely on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s shoulders for forcing the school network to sign the contract.
The mayor insisted that Success sign a 241-page contract granting the city detailed control of its pre-K programs, right down to the curriculum and rules for recess.
This, when the charter-school network has a proven record of achievement with older kids and works with master educators on all its curricula. And when state law clearly gives the city no right to tell charters how to educate any child.
Were you impacted by the sudden cancelation of SA’s pre-k programs? Is the mayor’s administration asking too much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.