NYC schools have come a long way in the past 12 years, but the UFT is threatening to return the city to its old status quo.
Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor for government affairs and communications in the Bloomberg administration, describes the transformation of NYC schools Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2001 and how the UFT and its candidate Bill Thompson could turn back the clock on progress.
In an op-ed for the New York Daily News, Wolfson writes:
What the UFT and its choice for mayor are offering is nothing more than a union wish list of measures to roll back the reforms that have benefited our kids during the last decade.
That risks returning to the days when our schools were a national disgrace.
With Bloomberg’s term ending, UFT President Michael Mulgrew has made no secret of his intention to regain the union’s grip on the schools. Since there are no more school board members he can hand-pick — the mayor abolished the corrupt school board system — the UFT leader has set his sights far higher, promising millions of dollars to Thompson’s campaign and forming a sophisticated polling and get-out-the-vote operation.
“We’re not about picking a mayor,” he told the New York Observer. “We’re about making a mayor, making the winner.”
What kind of mayor will the UFT make? With Thompson’s selection, the central question in the campaign has become: Who will run the school system — the union or the mayor? And will it be run for the children it serves or the adults who work in it?
The stakes couldn’t be higher.