Mayoral candidates a very mixed bag on fixing NYCs public schools
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Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley leads the pack when it comes to hypocrisy on education.
As co-chair of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s advisory panel on school diversity, Wiley pushed for ending the city’s Gifted and Talented programs, the specialized high schools entrance exam and all admission screens.
She told The Post, “There should be no discriminatory admissions, period.” But The Post’s Susan Edelman found that Wiley took advantage of selective public-school programs for her oldest daughter.
In short, she would close the doors to first-rate educational opportunities for other aspiring families now that her kids don’t need them.
The other major candidates are at least more nuanced on public-school issues.
Scott Stringer wants to preserve existing G&T programs and add new ones to boost opportunity. He’d like to replace the test for specialized-school entry with the state exams that all kids take.
Eric Adams would keep the exam and add new selective high schools, while adding admissions slots for the top kids from every city middle school. He also wants more G&T to better help lower-income areas.
Andrew Yang wants to keep but “de-emphasize” the existing test, which presumably translates to adding more alternatives to selective-HS entry. He, too, wants to open more selective schools so each borough has at least two.
Ray McGuire would also expand G&T for underserved communities and again add new paths for admission to the top high schools. He’d clearly support opening more specialized schools, too.
But McGuire stands out from the pack when it comes to charter schools: He wants to lift the cap that prevents new ones from opening, telling supporters recently, “We need to give our children the best education possible. I want to give parents a choice.” Yang, Adams, Stringer and Wiley all want to keep the cap.
Adams says he supports charter schools, but notes the cap is in in the Legislature’s hands. His focus would be on getting lawmakers to allow the re-use of the dozen or so “zombie charters” where schools granted a charter closed or never opened.
To be clear: Any support for charters can make a difference from the de Blasio years, as this mayor has endlessly harassed existing charter schools, regularly working to deny them space to expand.
That’s because the United Federation of Teachers hates charters, so you can consider the UFT’s endorsement of Stringer a huge black mark if you care about educational choice and excellence.
Yang, notably, publicly blamed the UFT for the failure to reopen public schools in the face of COVID — but then backed down after a meeting with UFT boss Mike Mulgrew. At least he and McGuire are passionate about the learning lost amid the school shutdowns.
Indeed, McGuire waxed eloquent on the need for choice and school reform generally when he met with The Post Editorial Board last week, the first candidate to do so. We look forward to seeing if any other candidate can stand so firmly for change on this crucial issue.
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