Only CBS Exposes 'Outrage' Over Liberal NYC Mayor's 'Attack' on Charter Schools

Of the three networks, only CBS has investigated the "outrage" of Mayor Bill de Blasio's "attacks" against charter schools in New York City. CBS This Morning journalist Don Dahler on Tuesday revealed, "Thousands of concerned parents are traveling to New York's state capitol Albany this morning, looking to draw attention to the plight of the charter school movement." Dahler referred to this movement as one parents believe "is now under attack." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

After showing one New York mother who praised the impact charter schools had on her children, the journalist informed, "But plans to expand their schools have been repealed by New York's New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio." A CBS graphic surprisingly challenged the liberal politician: "Charter School Showdown: Outrage Over NYC Mayor's Anti-Charter Policies." 

Going into the details of Democratic special interest groups, Dahler noted that the mayor has "the very powerful teachers union behind him because the charter schools don't have to have unionized." 

Co-host Gayle King even wondered, "So, is this payback for the teachers union which backed Mayor de Blasio?" 

Despite doing all their shows from New York, NBC and ABC's morning and evening shows have ignored this topic. 

CBS This Morning, in contrast, has quickly become the one outlet that regularly challenges and covers the new mayor. On February 21, This Morning was the only network show to point out that de Blasio's motorcade drove recklessly– just after the politician announced a new safe driving initiative. 

A transcript of the March 4 segment is below: 


8:07

NORAH O'DONNELL: And First Lady Michelle Obama visits a Washington D.C. charter school today. The public school alternative is run with taxpayer dollars are now legal in 42 states. 

CHARLIE ROSE: According to a recent report, charter school enrollment has grown 225 percent over the last ten years. The number of schools more than doubled. But the issue turning political in New York City where the new mayor is taking his stand to support existing public schools. Don Dahler looks at the controversy getting attention around the country. Don, good morning. 

CBS GRAPHIC: Charter School Showdown: Outrage Over NYC Mayor's Anti-Charter Policies 

DON DAHLER: Good morning. Thousands of concerned parents are traveling to New York's state capitol Albany this morning, looking to draw attention to the plight of the charter school movement. It's a movement they believe is now under attack. Maria Rodriguez has three children attending charter schools in Harlem. She said it felt like winning the lottery when her children were admitted. 

MARIA RODRIGUEZ (Charter school mother): I was excited. I jumped for joy. The kids were jumping because we always knew once we paved the path with that one that all the other siblings were able to get into this fantastic, phenomenal school. 

DAHLER: But plans to expand their schools have been repealed by New York's New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio. He says it's an effort to ensure that public across, which share space with public schools, get equal resources. 

BILL DE BLASIO (NYC mayor): We know in the past, that some of the public schools that received charter schools coming into them actually saw their programming diminish, saw the dynamics for their kids diminish. We don't want that imbalance. We don't want that unfairness. 

DAHLER: The move is a sharp turn away from the pro-charter policies under de Blasio's predecessor Michael Bloomberg. 

EVA MOSKOWITZ (Success Academy Charter Schools founder & CEO): Charter schools are free to design themselves around teaching and learning. 

DAHLER: Eva Moskowitz runs the schools impacted by the reversal. They are some of the top performing schools in the state.  

MOSKOWITZ: We're in the top one percent in the state of New York in math and we're the top seven percent in reading and writing. And that is all schools and our students in Harlem and the South Bronx and Bed Stuy are significantly less socioeconomically advantaged. 

DAHLER: What happens to this school, to these students if you can't convince the mayor to reverse his decision? 

MOSKOWITZ: I don't know. 

DAHLER: More than 600 students could be impacted. Over 2.5 million students nationwide attend charter schools. In 2013, those schools added 288,000 new students, the largest increase in 14 years. New York City schools chancellor Carmen Farina insists her boss, Mayor de Blasio still sees a place for them in city

CARMEN FARINA (NY schools chancellor): Charter schools that add value, that work with us in terms of how we make sure that all kids are served well, I'm in charge of 1.2 million kids, as is Bill and I think we take that responsibility very, very seriously. 

DAHLER: This political skirmish over charter schools comes at a time when mayor de Blasio is promoting his major education platform, the effort to provide uni pre-kindergarten for all children in New York. The mayor will also be traveling to Albany today to fight for that program and its controversial funding plan, to tax those making over $500,000 a year to pay for it. 

GAYLE KING: So, how does the mayor win on this when many parents could say you are preventing us from getting the best education that we can for our children? 

DAHLER: Yeah. And a lot of parents have concerns about that because these charter schools do well for their children in terms of test scores. The mayor, however, has the very powerful teachers union behind him because the charter schools don't have to have unionized teachers. So, there has been a lot of resentment over the years ever since charter schools were established and made legal. 

O'DONNELL: So, is this payback for the teachers union which backed Mayor de Blasio? 

DAHLER: I can't say definitely it's payback. I will say that the teachers union is very happy if de Blasio limits the number of charter schools out there. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org