City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called on New Yorkers to protest Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz and House Speaker Paul Ryan during the GOP lawmaker’s planned visit to a Harlem charter school on Tuesday.
Ryan will visit the Harlem Success Academy on West 118th Street on Tuesday, according to Politico and the New York Daily News at the invitation of Moskowitz, whom President Donald Trump briefly considered appointing Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. That role ultimately went to billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos, another proponent of publicly funded, privately run learning.
“So when Speaker Ryan comes to New York City, we let him know what we think about his agenda, right?” Mark-Viverito said during a panel discussion about the city’s plan to close Rikers Island this afternoon. “And we should be denouncing and holding Eva Moskowitz responsible and accountable for bringing him here to our community.”
Mark-Viverito said she wanted to update the audience with a “quick aside” before answering a question from the moderator, Fordham University Professor Christina Greer. The speaker, whose district covers East Harlem and parts of the Bronx, asserted that Ryan’s policies would particularly harm low-income nonwhite Americans.
“I just got an alert here which is disturbing to me that Speaker Ryan will be in New York City visiting a charter school in Harlem and I hope we organize ourselves to send a very strong message about what we believe about all that he is doing,” Mark-Viverito said. “And coming into Harlem at that, right, where the decisions they’re making are having severe, detrimental impacts on communities that we represent is pretty, pretty disturbing.”
Neither a spokeswoman for Ryan nor a spokeswoman for Success Academy immediately responded to requests for comment.
A former Democratic New York City councilwoman, Moskowitz said that she voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and was “disappointed” over President Donald Trump’s victory. But she has praised Trump for supporting charter schools.
She has urged fellow Democrats to give Trump a chance to make amends for his divisive campaign. She also stoked some controversy when she took first daughter Ivanka Trump on a tour of the same school Ryan will visit a day after announcing she was not interested in becoming Trump’s Education Secretary.