De Blasio calls for unity in charter school fight

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks before the congregants of the Riverside Church about his vision for New York City's schools on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Mayor de Blasio pledged a new approach that brings parents and school communities together. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Mayor Bill de Blasio sought Sunday to reset relations with the charter schools he has criticized as having unfair advantages while doubling down on his stance that all schools should be treated equally.

He delivered a speech at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights billed by his team as his "education vision" and attended by several top aides, including schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa.

De Blasio called for unity among various types of schools, especially district ones and taxpayer-funded, privately run charters, because they all want to "shake the foundations."

"They are all our children; they all deserve a solution," he said.

De Blasio alluded to a Success Academy charter in Harlem that his administration last month ruled cannot share space in a district school building because of overcrowding.

Success Academy, run by de Blasio critic Eva Moskowitz, has responded to the ruling with lawsuits and a "Save the 194" campaign -- a nod to the number of students who will be affected by the closure.

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"It's a good school doing good work, and we are going to make sure those 194 children have a good home this year," de Blasio said. "But we will not do it at the expense of our special-education children."

A Success Academy spokeswoman declined to comment on the mayor's speech.

De Blasio in his remarks also reached out to another rival in education, highlighting common ground on the desire for universal prekindergarten with fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who supports charters and opposes de Blasio's proposed tax to fund pre-K.

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