New York City has become a central battlefield in the fight over school choice and education reform since Bill de Blasio, an ally of the teachers unions and opponent of charter schools, became mayor in January. De Blasio decided early on in his administration to force out charter schools like Harlem Success Academy (founded by de Blasio's longtime political opponent Eva Moskowitz) from open space in public school buildings. The negative response was overwhelming, with even New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo coming out forcefully against de Blasio's anti-charter schools move. The mayor has since announced that the city has space in its public school buildings for three charter schools.
While the New York media has documented the high-profile fight between de Blasio and the teachers unions, and Cuomo, Moskowitz, and other pro-charter school forces, what about the affect on those poor and underprivileged students (called "scholars" at Moskowitz's schools) who face the brunt of anti-charter schools policies? A new documentary mini-series from the Blaze shows the life of one such scholar, 10-year-old Alise Alexander of Harlem, as she and her mother Monica experience the de Blasio decision first-hand and become determined to fight back.
Watch the first episode below:
You can watch the second and third episodes on YouTube.
Director Will Cain says he decided to make the movie for several reasons. "I wanted to show the impact of political decisions and the news-cycle on real people," he says. "Right and wrong in this story is so clear, so uncomplicated. You have one of the top performing schools in the state providing a lifeline for underprivileged minority children in Harlem. And Mayor Bill DeBlasio shut it down. Why? The answer to that question should make everyone look in the mirror and ask why they believe what they believe."
Be on the lookout for the fourth and final episode later this week.