NYC charter schools deserve COVID-19 justice

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Even when lives are at stake, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza won’t set aside their vendetta against charter schools. A state judge just ordered the Department of Education to include public charter schools in the same weekly COVID-19 testing program used in the regular system — which ought to be a no-brainer. But the city plans to appeal the ruling.

Never mind that charter students are mainly the low-income, black and Hispanic kids that de Blasio and Carranza claim they want to receive fair treatment: Fairness is out the door when it comes to these alternative public schools, because the teachers’ union hates them.

Some public officials stood up for the kids: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. joined nearly 300 school leaders last month in calling a foul on the de Blasio administration.

In his six-page ruling, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo wrote, “The contention that testing for a virus, which has caused a global pandemic and claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives, is merely a surveillance tool is beyond incredulous.”

“Surveillance tool”? Yep: Blas & Co. argue that they can deprive thousands of charter-school students and staff of access to the mandatory testing because it’s not a health service but a “surveillance” activity.

In December, the city required weekly in-school testing of 20 percent of all students and staff in all reopened school buildings — but refused to let charters into the testing program. It was an obvious ploy to make it harder for those students to get back to the classroom, even though many live in neighborhoods hit hardest by the coronavirus.

Not to mention rank discrimination against an entire class of public-school students and staff. Yet Team Blas won’t back down: “We do not believe our obligation to perform free, random-sample surveillance testing extends beyond DOE schools,” said DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson.

Low as our opinion is of this mayor and chancellor, we’re still shocked that they would weaponize the pandemic to attack charters — which routinely deliver better results than the schools they run.

Next time de Blasio or Carranza natter on about “equity,” someone should slap them for being vile hypocrites.



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