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Reprising 2012 rally, charter advocates planning march for Oct. 8

Success Academy Charter Network CEO Eva Moskowitz greeted students at a 2012 rally at City Hall. Another rally, this time a march across the Brooklyn Bridge
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz greeted students at a 2012 rally at City Hall. Another rally, a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, is planned for Oct. 8, Moskowitz told parents over the weekend.

New York City charter school advocates are planning a reprise of their 2012 rally that drew thousands of parents, students, and teachers to City Hall.

That rally was spearheaded in large part by Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz — to the chagrin of some charter school advocates — and aimed to show the city that the sector is a potent political force.

Over the weekend, Moskowitz told the parents of her network’s 4,600 students that they should plan to attend another rally Oct. 8, weeks before the city’s mayoral election. Parents “must” plan to accompany their children to a march across the Brooklyn Bridge that will replace the first half of the school day, Moskowitz explained in an email message, which GothamSchools obtained.

“Your child’s education is threatened. Our very existence is threatened. Opponents want to take away our funding and our facilities,” she wrote. “These attacks are a real danger — we cannot stand idly by.”

Democratic mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio has vowed to start charging rent to charter schools that occupy space in public school buildings. He has also called out Moskowitz specifically as receiving special treatment in getting public space from the Bloomberg administration. (Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate, would expand the charter sector.)

“There is no way in hell that Eva Moskowitz should get free rent, okay?” de Blasio said in June. “There are charters that are much, much better endowed in terms of resources than the public sector ever hoped to be. It is insult to injury to give them free rent. They should have to pay rent. They have the money.”

Moskowitz has been a divisive figure in more than just politics. Most city charter schools did not take part in the 2012 event, with some charter advocates citing her involvement as a reason for sitting the rally out. Instead, Success and the city’s other large charter networks supplied almost all of the participants.

Moskowitz’s full message to parents is below. We’ll have more on the rally, including about who plans to attend, soon.

From: <>
Date: Sat, Sep 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM
Subject: Message from Eva Moskowitz: Parent March October 8

Dear Parents,

Your child’s education is threatened.  Our very existence is threatened.  Opponents want to take away our funding and our facilities.  These attacks are a real danger — we cannot stand idly by.

This is an outrage: There are hundreds of empty classrooms all across New York City, and more than 1,000 district schools share space without a complaint.  Yet our opponents want to penalize our success — and are proposing legislation to do so.

These issues are tremendously important.  If we lose ground – literally, if we lose access to public space – we cannot fulfill our commitment to you and your scholar.

Which is why you – you and your scholar, your friends and relatives –  must join us on Tuesday, October 8 to march with other charter parents across the Brooklyn Bridge.

What: Parent March across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of charter schools and parent choice!

When: Tuesday, October 8, 7:30am-11:00am.  Buses will pick you and your scholar up from school at morning arrival, and you will be dropped off at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. We will delay the start of school until after the march.

Where: The march will start in Cadman Plaza, go across the Brooklyn Bridge, and end in City Hall Park (Downtown Manhattan).  All families will then take a subway back to school after the march to drop off scholars for the rest of the school day.

Don’t let opponents of ed reform steal your children’s future.  This is about your child, your choice.  Your voice must be heard.  We must show public officials that parents will fight for the right to choose excellent schools.

Eva Moskowitz
Founder and CEO
Success Academy Charter Schools

call out

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

PHOTO: Chris Hill/Whitney Achievement School
Teacher Carl Schneider walks children home in 2015 as part of the after-school walking program at Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis. This photograph went viral and inspired a First Person reflection from Schneider in 2017.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person.

For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers.

First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships. Because of her piece, the school board in Memphis is reviewing the so-called “million-dollar scholar” culture at some high schools.

Do you have a story to tell or a point to make? In 2018, we want to give an even greater voice to students, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and others who are trying to improve public education in Tennessee. We’re looking for essays of 500 to 750 words grounded in personal experience.

Whether your piece is finished or you just have an idea to discuss, drop a line to Community Editor Caroline Bauman at

But first, check out these top First Person pieces from Tennesseans in 2017:

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

“A counselor never tried to determine what the absolute best school for me would be. I wasted a lot of time, money and resources trying to figure that out. And I almost lost myself in the process.” —Anisah Karim     

Why I’m not anxious about where my kids go to school — but do worry about the segregation that surrounds us

“In fact, it will be a good thing for my boys to learn alongside children who are different from them in many ways — that is one advantage they will have that I did not, attending parochial schools in a lily-white suburb.” —Mary Jo Cramb

I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.

“Apathy is often cited as a major problem facing education. That’s not the case in Tennessee.” —Grace Tatter

I went viral for walking my students home from school in Memphis. Here’s what got lost in the shuffle.

“When #blacklivesmatter is a controversial statement; when our black male students have a one in three chance of facing jail time; when kids in Memphis raised in the bottom fifth of the socioeconomic bracket have a 2.6 percent chance of climbing to the top fifth — our walking students home does not fix that, either.” —Carl Schneider

I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.

“It was a complicated choice to make. The dialogue around school choice in Nashville, though, doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.” —Aidan Hoyal

I grew up near Charlottesville and got a misleading education about Civil War history. Students deserve better.

“In my classroom discussions, the impetus for the Civil War was resigned to a debate over the balance of power between federal and state governments. Slavery was taught as a footnote to the cause of the war.” —Laura Faith Kebede

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”