Approximately 18,500 supporters of charter schools marched on City Hall on Wednesday to persuade Mayor Bill de Blasio to treat charter schools equally with other public schools, and to increase the number of schools in the charter system.
Ruben Diaz Jr, Bronx Borough President and possible candidate for mayor in 2017 addressed the crowd, saying that he will “always be a supporter of charter schools.”
“Mr. Mayor, what we’re saying here today is this: The public-schools system is your system. Charter schools are a part of that system, and all we want from you, Mr. Mayor, is to treat them equitably” proclaimed Diaz to the crowd who walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in red tee-shirts emblazoned with the mottoes “I Fight to End Inequality” and “Don’t Steal
Possible.” Before the march the crowd held a rally in Cadman Plaza.
Parents described to the gathering how charter schools have made a big difference in the lives of their children. Patrick Cabiness, whose son attends third grade at PS 67 in Fort Greene lamented the poor education his son is now receiving.
“I have seen firsthand how the mayor is failing our public schools. At my son’s school, nine out of 10 kids do not read on grade level” Cabiness said.
Another parent, Natasha Shannon of Washington Heights, exclaimed that the mayor’s own children would never be sent to one of the city’s failing public schools. All of her daughters go to Success Academy schools.
Along with parents, teachers, children and politicians were in attendance, demanding equality for schools.
The mayor spoke on the radio as the rally was beginning, explaining that his job is to serve the greater school population.
“Our vision for the New York City public schools is that every school is going to be brought up to the point of excellence. And look, the vast majority of our kids – about 93, 94 percent of our kids – are in traditional public schools. We have to turn them around” the mayor said.
Families for Excellent Schools was the sponsor of the rally.