Mayor Eric Adams just turned his back on those he claims to fight for the most — striving New York minorities — by letting Chancellor David Banks cancel a Panel on Education Policy vote on co-locating two new Success Academy primary schools in Queens and one in The Bronx.
Thousands of parents, overwhelmingly black and Hispanic, in these communities hope to start their young kids at Success, with its long track record of helping its scholars excel. At the regular public schools in these areas, most children leave 5th grade unable to read.
The demand is plain: A year ago, SA had 3,047 unique applications for 487 open seats in its four Queens elementary schools, and a thousand apps from District 11 in The Bronx, where it’s now trying to open one of the new primary schools.
But a United Federation of Teachers propaganda campaign created an illusion of community opposition, mostly by falsely telling parents at existing schools in the three buildings that their kids’ education will somehow suffer.
Huh? Each building was built to handle at least 700 students more than now are now enrolled there. The two in Queens have seen enrollment decline for the last five straight years; the Bronx one, for three. Each SA school would top out at no more than 500 kids. And over 1,000 city public schools are now co-located; all the problems of sharing buildings got worked out long ago.
Yet the politically potent UFT also got a host of pols to echo its lies, including Queens Beep Donovan Richards and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams.
Which means that Wednesday’s planned PEP meeting to vote on the proposed co-locations would’ve begun with a litany of powerful figures blasting out the “community opposition” agitprop. But Success had hundreds of parents from the actual communities prepared to speak on why they wanted their kids to be able to walk to a good school in their neighborhood.
So the truth would’ve been obvious, but City Hall and/or the Department of Education supposedly feared they’d lose the co-location vote, even though the mayor still appoints a majority of PEP members. Really? Or did they just want to avoid the fight?
If losing was a real threat, that means the mayor’s lost much of his control of the schools: On any given issue, the UFT or other special interests can overturn his and Banks’ policies.
The Success community, and the families hoping to join it, expected all three of these schools to open this coming fall. The Department of Education is now scrambling to deliver, by finding space in buildings that are now empty, avoiding the need for a co-location vote.
And with no guarantee the new locations will work for the families that want to send their kids there: How far are kindergartners and first-graders supposed to walk?
Nor is it remotely clear DOE can find the space in time. But kids can’t just wait a year to start school.
Again, minority New Yorkers who want to build a better life for their children are the very core of the base that made Eric Adams mayor. Meanwhile, the UFT is aligned with the hard-left factions that battle him at every turn.
If he won’t fight his enemies on behalf of the people who believe in him, he’ll never win anything that matters.