Texas Senator Ted Cruz has more than the White House on his mind–he’s also taking a shot at Gracie Mansion.
The conservative Republican, a probable presidential contender in 2016, blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, for his educational views in a speech he gave yesterday at the Heritage Action Conservative Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Mr. Cruz, a supporter of charter schools, said Mr. de Blasio’s opposition to Eva Moskowitz’s charter network amounted to throwing “young African-American kids” out of school.
“In my view school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. And I gotta say the differences on this issue are stark,” Mr. Cruz said, alluding to Mr. de Blasio’s attempt to block the expansion of Ms. Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools.
“New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, one of the first things he did was go up and try to throw young African-American kids out of the schools that were performing for them in Harlem,” he continued. “It’s a sad thing to see politicians more interested in pleasing the union bosses who are writing checks to him than taking care of the kids who desperately want hope and a ray of opportunity for the future.”
Last year, Mr. de Blasio’s decision to scuttle the opening of several Success Academy schools backfired when Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an aggressive supporter of the publicly-financed and privately-run schools, crafted unprecedented protections for charters into state law. Mr. de Blasio, the United Federation of Teachers and many public schools parents have opposed the expansion of charters for a variety of reasons, including their ability to circumvent the teachers union and co-locate schools in crowded public school buildings.
Charter advocates like Mr. Cruz contend charters give parents the choice to take their kids out of failing public schools and give them a better education. Skeptics, on the other hand, say that the educational track record of many charters is mixed and they siphon resources from traditional public schools.
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, Wiley Norvell, did not hit back at Mr. Cruz, only saying that the mayor supports “high quality education” no matter the school they attend.
“Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña are committed to doing what is best for children and providing a foundation for achievement across every neighborhood,” Mr. Norvell said. “Our objective is to support every child and provide a high quality education, no matter the neighborhood they live in or the school they attend.”
Updated with comment from Mr. de Blasio’s office.