New York is taking center stage in the fight over charter schools. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo are both Democrats, but they couldn’t stand further apart when it comes to charters. On the stump de Blasio promised to end the city’s practice of allowing charter schools free co-location in empty space in public schools, and to restrict the creation of new schools. Cuomo, on the other hand, has joined Democrats like Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel to champion charters as a common-sense education reform.The two appeared at competing rallies in Albany on Tuesday. De Blasio’s rally in support of a higher tax on wealthy New Yorkers was not specifically targeted at education, but across town, Andrew Cuomo joined Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz at a different rally promoting charter schools. Although de Blasio downplayed the significance of the charter rally, it’s a big deal. Moskowitz is his chief opponent in the charter school co-location fight. Indeed, de Blasio specifically mentioned the need to reduce Moskowitz’s influence as a reson for the policy shift, and Moskowitz has responded with plenty of harsh words of her own. By appearing at the rally, Cuomo effectively endorsed de Blasio’s biggest rival. And he’s not just a silent partner; he spoke forcefully about the need to protect charter schools:
“We are here today to tell you that we stand with you,” Mr. Cuomo said. “You are not alone. We will save charter schools.” […]
“Parents deserve a choice,” he said.
Mr. Cuomo promised to ensure that charter schools have the “financial capacity and physical space and government support to thrive and to grow.”
New York is quickly becoming the chief battleground between the Democratic Party’s liberal and moderate wings. The competition between these two men can tell us a good deal about whether the far-left wing of the Democratic party can successfully pull the moderates in their direction and influence the party’s agenda. If they succeed, it could be good news for the GOP come 2016.