Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times has an article describing a new education coalition, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, which will be made up of labor unions and advocacy groups that plan to support mayoral candidates who pledge to reverse some of Michael Bloomberg administration’s more-contentious public education policies.
The coalition is a direct response to another well-financed political group, StudentsFirstNY, which was formed this year as a counterweight to critics of the administration’s stewardship of the city’s schools, and is led by former schools chancellors of New York (Joel Klein) and Washington (Michelle Rhee). The new coalition will be called New Yorkers for Great Public Schools. The article comments:
“The dueling groups underline the highly visible role that public schools are expected to play in next year’s mayoral race, as the contenders debate the merits of policies like the expansion of charter schools and the use of teacher evaluations in firing faculty members.
They also highlight the potential role that outside money could play in the mayoral race. The new coalition has the backing of many of the city’s big unions, including the United Federation of Teachers. StudentsFirstNY, which is looking to raise $10 million a year, has been financed primarily by hedge fund managers and venture capitalists.
Jon Kest, the executive director of New York Communities for Change, who is one of the prime organizers of the new coalition, said on Thursday that his opponents had been “amassing a small fortune to try and buy the support of mayoral candidates with a massive advertising campaign.”
The New York mayoral election is shaping up to be a well-funded, major debate on education reform.