A day after winning re-election in a landslide, Mayor Bill de Blasio said his “greatest passion” in his second term will be making the public school system “look entirely different.”
De Blasio renewed a promise that school children would soon read at grade level by third grade — a goal he set in 2013, the year of his first mayoral run — but on Wednesday did not otherwise detail how he planned to remake the 1.1 million-student public schools.
A UCLA study published a few months into de Blasio’s first term found that New York City’s public schools were some of the most deeply segregated in the nation. Critics have assailed his administration for plodding progress toward diversity.
De Blasio, 56, a Democrat, said his victory — 66 percent of Tuesday’s vote — bestows a mandate to make New York the “fairest” city in America, in schooling and beyond.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” de Blasio said in his Tuesday night victory speech.
On housing, the term-limited de Blasio said he planned to ask Albany for stricter rent-regulation laws, as well as permission to enact both a “mansion tax” — a 2.5 percent fee on home sales that exceed $2 million, to fund below-market-rate apartments — and a “millionaire's tax” on top earners to generate money for transit upgrades.
Both proposed taxes require approval from state lawmakers who have previously dismissed the plans.
De Blasio shrugged off questions about the extent of his mandate from reporters who pointed out that only about 20 percent of the city’s 5 million registered voters turned out on Tuesday.
“An election is an election,” he said. “People decide if they want to participate.”
De Blasio attributed his victory to the “Trump factor,” in part, and vowed to continue to resist President Donald Trump’s policies.
“I have no doubt the Trump factor was important,” de Blasio said. “A lot of people have been turned back on to the political process because of their frustration with Donald Trump, and I say with humility, I’ve been a leading anti-Trump voice and clearly have defended New York City against the policies of the Trump administration.”
Since the billionaire was elected president last year, de Blasio has barred federal immigration agents from school grounds and refused to turn over people living in the country illegally, among other anti-Trump policies.
In an interview, de Blasio’s longtime confidant Peter Ragone said de Blasio should “really hone down on” combating income inequality, education, public safety and good governance.
“As Bill Parcells said, ‘You are what your record says you are,’” said Ragone, quoting the former New York Giants head coach.
Asked whether de Blasio’s second term would be more politically liberal than the first four years, Ragone, who left City Hall in 2015, texted: “Can it be? Lol.”