New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has managed to make Andrew Cuomo look like a near-right moderate. The New York Governor took to the streets alongside charter school parents yesterday in a clear stand against de Blasio for shutting down three of the city’s most successful charter schools.
Governor Cuomo did not simply express support for the charter school movement; he attended a rally in support of charter schools and delivered a rousing speech. “We are going to save charter schools, and you are making it happen by being here today,” he told the crowd, insisting they were “not alone” against forces that intend to shut down charter schools. “This is democracy, and this is how you make your voice heard,” he said to cheers.
Governor Cuomo’s speech in Albany was delivered before thousands of parents united to support their charter schools. The protest was organized after de Blasio rescinded approval for three charter schools approved during the Bloomberg administration. The Mayor had warned that he would issue a moratorium on more schools in the city early in his tenure–and delivered this weekend. The New York Post collected reports of crying children and outraged parents who called de Blasio’s move “ridiculous.”
Cuomo noted that, as a whole, charter schools had been a “great success,” demanding a round of applause for the Success Charter School network–the network de Blasio specifically denied space in public facilities last week.
The New York Times reports that de Blasio called the rallies a “sideshow” and the original Bloomberg charter school plan “abhorrent” after traveling to Albany this week in support of his proposal to tax New Yorkers making more than $500,000 in order to fund a universal pre-kindergarten program. That program marked the first rift between the two Democrats. Governor Cuomo responded to de Blasio’s plan by offering to use state funding to create the universal pre-kindergarten program that de Blasio called for in his campaign. Such a plan would negate any reason to raise taxes on New Yorkers, but de Blasio insisted the tax was an important part of his plan. No prominent Democrats have yet to stand with de Blasio on the issue, confirming accusations in the New York Post that de Blasio is so woefully inept as a political operative that he is “stumbling about like a drunk in the dark.” Even Democrats within City Hall have anonymously complained to news sources that his governing style leaves them “confused” and offers them only vague instructions that do not help them perform their duties.