Five years ago Michael Bloomberg took a community high school building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, cut it in half, and handed one half of it over to a wealthy widow of a Time-Warner executive.
That half of the building became Ross Global Academy, a toy in the hands of Texas-born benefactress, Courtney Sale Ross.
With only experience from a small private school for the wealthy that she ran in the Hamptons, Ross spent loads of money on new bamboo floors, fancy colorful banners and designer furniture.
But the principals came and went. 40% of the teachers left each year and almost 80% left last year. It became a sad story, particularly for the teachers, parents and students, of what happens when you hand over schools as the playthings of the rich and richer.
As the recent episode with Cathie Black demonstrates, it is a lesson Bloomberg refuses to learn. Or doesn’t want to learn.
On Monday Ross Global became a cautionary tale for the city’s well-heeled charter backers, among 12 schools the city announced it would seek to close this year for poor performance.