Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his policy on charter school co-locations on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday, rejecting inferences that his recent criticism is a personal battle.
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski hounded the mayor on his decision to reject previously approved plans to co-locate three schools operated by Success Academy, founded by educator and former Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
The mayor's rhetoric against co-locations is nothing new. Brzezinski showed a clip of a fiery de Blasio on the campaign trail last year in which he lambasted Moskowitz's sway with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration.
"Time for Eva Moskowitz to stop having the run of the place," de Blasio told the crowd at a United Federation of Teachers event last May. "She has to stop being tolerated, enabled, supported. I have seen her schools have a destructive impact on the schools they're going into."
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Scarborough followed up by noting the high enrollment of low-income and minority students in charter schools, which the mayor promptly responded is true of traditional schools as well.
"I have a school system of 1.1 million kids," de Blasio said. "I think 80-plus percent right now are children of color, so I think we're all working on the same challenge together."
De Blasio added that the Department of Education was committed to finding a new space for at least one of the three Success Academy schools he rejected.
"I do think the facts matter a lot here," de Blasio said. "The bottom line is, we’ve got to fix the whole school system, so charters play a role in that. But a lot of other things have to happen — the schools on the receiving end matter too."
Pointedly asked if he's targeting Moskowitz, de Blasio said it was it was anything but personal.
“It’s quite substantive, actually,” de Blasio said. “I respect her abilities, and I respect some of what she has achieved with kids. But what I disagree with is going into an existing school and disrupting what that school is trying to do. That process was not handled right by the previous administration. We’re going to reform that process so you can do a co-location the right way.”
Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria