New Yorkers have sent Mayor Bill de Blasio some blunt messages recently regarding city schools — and happily, he seems to be taking them to heart.
They go like this:
The city’s charter schools have a committed fan base because so many of them are successful. Stop picking on them and let them flourish.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not a guy you want to tangle with in a street fight. When he offers you state money to get your citywide prekindergarten program started, don’t quibble about the terms. Take the money gracefully and generously share the credit.
And that 73-to-24 percent election you won last fall? With just 24 percent of registered voters turning out, it was never the landslide it appeared to be. That may help explain your 39 percent approval rating in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll. You might want to broaden your coalition.
The mayor is showing signs of doing that.
After fielding a barrage of tough questions on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show about his handling of charter schools, he made a surprise visit to a meeting of charter executives and reassured them of his willingness to work together.
De Blasio also seemed to seek a truce with Cuomo when he said that instead of a tax increase on city residents making more than $500,000, he would accept alternative funding for his pre-K plans as long as Cuomo’s terms get the job done.
Meanwhile, de Blasio and schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have said they’d help seek alternative locations for three Success Academy charters that became an instant cause célèbre when the city canceled their co-location agreements with district schools.
Lessons learned? We hope so. Instead of bringing the city together, de Blasio has spent the first 70-plus days of his administration driving unnecessary wedges among New Yorkers — especially regarding the schools.That isn’t healthy for the city, and it only makes the mayor’s job harder. We hope these are just beginners’ mistakes.