The Next Mayor Series: Bill de Blasio on Education

It is clear that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and chancellor Joel Klein together recast New York City’s education system, relocating control from 32 different community school boards to a central administration, opening hundreds of new schools, and growing the charter school sector, while dismantling the old system “so that our successors can’t put it back together,” as the Mayor put it. What view do potential successors to the Mayorship take of the Bloomberg administration’s educational work? As a whole, will the next mayor continue the general thrust of the reforms or try to put the system back together in a new way with very different policy initiatives?

Bill de Blasio is in a crowded fIeld of candidates seeking the Democratic party’s nomination for New York City mayor. Howard Dean has called him “the clear progressive choice” and the New  York Times suggested he was the “breakout” candidate. He carries endorsements from several labor organizations, including CUNY’s 25,000-member Professional Staff Congress. A graduate of New  York University, over the course of a two-decade political career de Blasio has been a junior staffer for mayor David Dinkins, a Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Clinton Administration), a member of Community School Board for District 15, campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s successful U.S. Senate bid in 2000, and a  member of the New York City Council  (2001–2009). In 2009 de Blasio won a bruising citywide election for Gotham’s second-ranked public official (after the mayor), the Public Advocate. He has a serious policy agenda for Gotham education, should he win the mayoralty, including a tax on the city’s wealthiest in order to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.

David Steiner is Founding Director of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy and the Klara and Larry Silverstein Dean at the Hunter College School of Education. His work at Hunter has achieved national recognition for innovation in video analysis, teacher preparation, and partnership with charter school networks. As Commissioner of Education for New York State, he took a lead role in the State’s successful $700 million Race to the Top application to support the redesign of state standards, assessments, and teacher certification requirements.

For more information contact Peter Meyer, CIEP Program Manager