Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte has described as “racist” an advertisement by a charter group attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City public district schools.
“The recent commercial and open letter to the mayor by for-profit charter school leaders using Black and Latino children and their families as political pawns is a disgrace and is in itself racist,” said Bichotte, the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to the State Assembly.
“They continually use this tactic to pit parents of color against each other to disparage the mayor and our public district schools,” added Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn and chairs currently the Assembly’s Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs).
From day one, Bichotte said the mayor has introduced and implemented reforms in order to begin to remedy years of damage and neglect.
Part of that neglect is the money due to New York City through the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, she said.
“They say that changes are not happening quickly enough. But we all know that these types of systemic changes cannot happen overnight,” Bichotte said.
“The needs of students of color and their families have been ignored institutionally for decades and, as a result, these children have been stripped of their right to a decent quality educational experience,” she added. “A bottom line approach in the past overlooked the context in which these children were living.”
The assemblywoman noted that the mayor and the chancellor have developed a strategy that gets to the root cause of some of these complex issues, including Universal Pre-K, the development of community schools, the investment in renewal schools, adjustments to the school discipline code, and the vision for readying all of New York City’s public district school children to compete in our global economy.
“All of these actions are a true testament to how much the mayor cares about the whole child, and not just their grades,” Bichotte said.
“They say that charter schools are the answer. There are some successful charter schools,” she added. “However, studies have shown that on average charter schools have not proven themselves as a solution to our struggling public school system.”
“They constantly put forth a narrative that our district schools are failing,” she continued. “However there are successes that are occurring in district schools as well. They say that parents are being denied choices, which is another cliché used to justify the privatization of schools.”
Bichotte said privatization benefits millionaires, and siphons off public resources — “our taxpayer dollars.”
“Choice seems to only be defined by those who would choose charter schools,” she said. “But there are parents who are choosing their public district schools, and we need to preserve that option by providing adequate funding and additional resources not taking them away.”
In further expressing outrage over the “attacks,” Bichotte was joined on Tuesday in a rally on the steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., between Center and Broadway, lower Manhattan, by, among others, the Alliance of Quality Education (AQE); public school parents; Hazel Dukes, NYS NAACP; Bertha Lewis, The Black Institute; the Coalition for Educational Justice; New York Communities for Change; Make the Road NY; and elected officials.