President Obama Endorses de Blasio for mayor: What could this mean for Public Education?

NY Daily News: President Obama on Monday endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor, saying that the Democrat will be a “great” mayor for “America’s largest city.” Obama specifically cited de Blasio’s plans for universal pre-kindergarten as one of the reasons he was backing de Blasio, a former Housing and Urban Development official under-then President Clinton. “Progressive change is the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio’s vision for New York City, and it’s why he will be a great mayor of America’s largest city,” Obama said in a statement. “Whether it’s ensuring pre-kindergarten is available for every four-year old, expanding after-school programs for every middle school student who wants and needs them, making affordable housing available for more New York families and preserving community hospitals, Bill’s agenda for New York is marked by bold, courageous ideas that address the great challenges of our time.”

 

What happens to a dream deferred?

 

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore–

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over–

like a syrupy sweet?

 

Maybe it just sags

like a heavy load.

 

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

I wonder what this means for NYC public education policy, if Mr. de Blasio is elected. The President’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been a consistent supporter of the present mayor’s ineffective faux reform program. The secretary’s educational philosophy seems to be more aligned with the republican candidate, Mr. Lhota. In view of the Justice Department’s (JD) open and aggressive defense against the legislative attempt at the commercializing of public education in Louisiana (and the laws real long-term goal: The public funding of religious and racially segregated “White Academies” by the governor, and his republican collogues in the state legislature). Could the JD actions be a recognition of how a test of the “charter district” model in New Orleans has so demonstrably failed (and now that the traveling ineffective “medicine show” has moved on; and is being fiercely resisted in Bridgeport Conn.). Or, is this just an intellectually honest recognition that republicans have no real interest in the successful education of the children of poverty, and more specifically, Black and Latino children. Is this a shift away from a failed and cynical policy? Is Mr. Obama (essentially a smart guy)no longer buying the educational swampland disguised as the green grass of school reform? If an elected Bill de Blasio could pursue a path between misguided and misinformed liberals; and callous and cynical conservatives; the children who are the most dependent on public education to escape from the terrible possibility of having their “dreams (of a positive and productive life) deferred”, could have  a chance. I, on the other hand am trying to walk a path while balancing the historical reality of pessimism, and the spiritual reality of hope.