Charter school operators and Bloomberg-style education reformers are getting the cold shoulder from mayor-elect Bill de Blasio as he assembles his transition team and prepares to choose a chancellor.
De Blasio snubbed charter school educators and education reformers from his 60-member transition team announced Wednesday, choosing instead to place high-profile critics of Bloomberg’s policies on the roster.
His choices worry education reformers and advocates for charter schools, which enroll about 6 % of city students.
“There are members of the transition team that we have deep respect for and look forward to working with, but it’s disappointing that the charter parent voice isn’t represented,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, director of the pro-charter advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools.
De Blasio has vowed to end the city’s policy of giving charters free rent in public school buildings when he takes office, a move that could slow the movement’s growth. He said at a mayoral forum in May that the city doesn’t need any more charter schools.
His picks for education experts on his advisory team include Zakiyah Ansari, the advocacy director for Alliance for Quality Education and an outspoken critic of Bloomberg’s policies.
De Blasio also tapped Advocates for Children of New York executive director Kim Sweet for a spot on his advisory team. Sweet has sued the city multiple times on behalf of students with special needs.
Charter school boosters say their schools perform better than public schools, but their critics note charter schools serve fewer at-risk students who face challenges of poverty or special education needs.
De Blasio’s team declined to comment on his education advisors and his ongoing hunt for a new chancellor. But supporters of the mayor-elect’s education agenda said his picks for the transition team reflect his statements and positions on the campaign trail.
“There’s no question the transition team represents a dramatic change. But that’s what de Blasio ran on,” said Alliance for Quality Education executive director Billy Easton. “There’s a thirst for change.”