Mayor Bill de Blasio is keeping up his campaign to try and smooth things over with charter school advocates who have done battle with his administration. Negative ads against the mayor by charter school supporters seem to be damaging the mayor's approval rating and now de Blasio is trying to make peace. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is not apologizing for his administration's decisions on charter schools, but he is admitting that he fell short when it came to explaining the rationale for the decisions to New Yorkers.
During a radio interview, the mayor said he did not make it clear to the public why his administration decided to prevent three charter schools from opening in public school buildings after the Bloomberg administration had already signed off on the moves. Two of the schools had not yet enrolled any children. But one of them, Success Academy Harlem 4, had already signed up 194 students.
"Every child matters in this equation and I didn't articulate that clearly enough vis-a-vis those 194 students. And now we've made very clear they will be accommodated in a good space that will work for them," said de Blasio.
The change in tone comes after weeks of intense fire from many charter school advocates. They spent $3.6 million on attack ads, and they overshadowed his pre-k rally in Albany with a much larger pro-charter rally of their own. The mayor's approval rating has taken a hit.
And at Riverside Church on Sunday, he attempted to tone things down.
"We made some decisions in the last weeks striving for fairness, but I have to tell you I didn't measure up when it came to explaining those decisions to the people of this city," said de Blasio on Sunday.
The problem was not just City Hall's explanation of its decision, but comments, like those from Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, that added fuel to the fire. She caused an uproar earlier this month when she said the charter schools blocked by the city were "on their own." She later said she regretted the comment.
A spokesman for Families for Excellent Schools, which ran the attack ads, declined to comment on the mayor's new approach. So did a spokeswoman for the Success Academy schools.