New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio does not have a friend in Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
On Tuesday, the New York Post published an op-ed by Jindal in which he criticized the mayor’s hostility to charter schools, saying that de Blasio’s actions have the “markings of a petulant tyrant holding low-income students hostage.” He also accused de Blasio of “[embarking] on a systematic campaign to destroy the city’s burgeoning charter school movement" and said the mayor's "immoral policies will limit the futures of yet another generation of African-American youths.”
Jindal’s op-ed refers to de Blasio’s decision in late February to block the space-sharing agreements of nine city schools, including three schools from high-profile charter school operator Success Academy. Some have speculated that de Blasio’s move was part of a personal vendetta against the Success Academy CEO and founder, Eva Moskowitz, although the de Blasio administration approved space-sharing agreements for four other Success schools.
De Blasio has diverted more than $200 million away from charter schools since taking office and has floated the idea of making well-off charter schools pay rent.
While de Blasio has received a significant amount of criticism from charter school leaders and some media outlets (a previous New York Post cover called him a “school bully”), he has said these critiques are ill-informed. In a radio interview earlier this month, he pointed out that he is being compared to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was a strong charter school advocate.
“Of course we’re going to work with the charter schools, and there’s a lot of very good charter schools, but we’re going to treat them with an equality as -- the same way we treat traditional public schools,” said Blasio, according to The New York Times. “We’re not going to favor them the way the Bloomberg administration did.”
Jindal’s op-ed ended with an attack on President Obama and the Department of Justice, whom Jindal has sparred with on the issue of voucher schools. In August, the DOJ filed a lawsuit to partially block the implementation of Louisiana’s voucher program, designed to give low-income children the opportunity to attend private schools.
According to the DOJ’s lawsuit, the program violates previous desegregation orders in more than 30 districts.
In his op-ed, Jindal said the lawsuit “would be funny if it weren’t so sad -- and if the lives of so many young African-American children weren’t at stake.”