NEW YORK – School choice supporters in The Big Apple are probably depressed and demoralized since last week’s mayoral election, and they have good reason to feel that way.
Almost immediately after Bill de Blasio was elected mayor, news leaked that American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten was being seriously considered as the next leader of the city’s school system. The thought of Weingarten as the New York City’s schools chancellor is so repellant that it almost seemed like a practical joke.
If anything, choosing Weingarten as the top schools chief fits with de Blasio’s political vision.
A recent New York Times article confirms that conclusion. Detailing the individuals in the mayor-elect’s “circle of power,” the Times makes it clear de Blasio is a committed left-winger who is bent on reestablishing New York City as the mecca of progressive policies – education and otherwise.
The Times highlights 20 individuals as being in de Blasio’s political “orbit.” Five of them have strong connections to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s nastiest labor union that has a history of using violence to advance its political agenda. That agenda includes opposition to school choice and K-12 reform.
Five individuals also have ties to the Working Families Party, a political party that’s against anything that poses a threat to government schools. (Two of these five individuals have connections to both SEIU and the Working Families Party.)
De Blasio is also close to three individuals who have been affiliated with ACORN, a corrupt community-organizing group that was forced underground after an investigative exposé by citizen journalist James O’Keefe.
The Times reports former ACRON head Bertha Lewis “has been a close friend of Mr. de Blasio’s” since 1996.
Add it all up, and it’s obvious that de Blasio poses a serious threat to the school reforms outgoing-Mayor Michael Bloomberg implemented during his 12 years in office.
If New York City parents and school choice advocates seem a little glum these days, it’s because they know they’ll soon have no friends in city hall.