NEW YORK, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, recently announced that he will personally fund the creation of four charter schools in New York City. The announcement was welcomed by New York financier and education philanthropist, Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, a long-time supporter of Bloomberg, has financed numerous charter schools across the country including the Maya Angelou schools in Washington DC, the highly acclaimed Bard High School Early College in New York City and the Harlem Link Charter School.
Bloomberg's funding will come through his foundation, the Young Men's Initiative, which is also funded by George Soros' Open Society Foundations. Once approved by the state Board of Regents, the co-ed charter high schools will open in September 2014, alongside four public schools in five high-poverty neighborhoods: in Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Queens and East Harlem. Both the public and charter schools will share a board of trustees, with Melanie Hartzog, a former City Hall official for Health and Human Services, as a proposed member.
"The Mayor has a keen sense of what's needed to run a charter school," Jeffrey Epstein noted, whose own foundation also has a long history of supporting early education and Head Start programs. "Bloomberg oversees numerous charter schools and understands how to optimize fiscal and academic standards."
So far, there are mixed reviews about Bloomberg's initiative. Supporters of charter schools cite the expansion of a successful alternative to the public system, while others criticize the frequent closings of charters as well as the partial use of public tax dollars to manage the schools.
In addition to funding charter and Head Start schools, The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation continues to be a staunch supporter of cutting edge science and science education. Jeffrey Epstein also founded the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University in 2003 with a $30 million grant. He is a former member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Rockefeller University, New York Academy of Science and sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard University.