School Choice & Charters

Policy-War Veteran Starts N.Y.C. School

March 28, 2006 1 min read
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It’s not easy chairing the New York City Council’s education committee, but Eva S. Moskowitz has left that job for one that may generate even more headaches: She’s starting a charter school.

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“My goal is to be the best school in New York City, and then to replicate,” she said. “It’s great if you can do one school, but the problem [of low-performing schools] is so enormous.”

The Harlem Success Charter School, slated to open in the fall in central Harlem, expects to start with 155 kindergartners and 1st graders, and grow to serve up to grade 5. Ms. Moskowitz, the executive director, said the school will emphasize science education.

The Democrat stepped down last fall after six years on the council, where at times she was at the center of controversy. Those occasions included a series of hearings she held in 2003 scrutinizing union contracts, which she has argued hamstring city schools.

Ms. Moskowitz lost in her party’s primary for Manhattan borough president in September. She’s a former teacher and college professor, and earned a doctoral degree in American history.

Ms. Moskowitz sent a letter last week to Gov. George E. Pataki and key state legislators urging them to lift the cap on the number of charters in the state. Mr. Pataki, a Republican, supports that stance.

“In a mere 30-day period, Harlem Success received applications from 440 families clamoring for a better educational option than their neighborhood school,” she wrote in the March 22 letter. “[I]t is only fair that you experience the lottery for yourself as you weigh ... whether or not to lift the cap on charter schools.”

Asked about Ms. Moskowitz’s plans, Randi Weingarten, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said: “It will be interesting to see how it goes, because she will learn how hard it is to run a successful school.” The union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, started its own charter school last fall. (“A School of Their Own,” Feb. 22, 2006.)

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A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2006 edition of Education Week

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