The debate gave Weiner a chance to really emphasize his education agenda and differentiate himself from the rest of his primary opponents:Anthony Weiner, the son of a former public school teacher, said his views on education run "deep in my bones."
Fresh off the announcement of his campaign for New York City mayor and Tuesday's promising poll numbers, the disgraced former congressman spoke at the first mayoral debate of his 2013 run. The debate, hosted by the union-funded New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, focused on education in the nation's largest school district.
Weiner sought to situate education within his middle-class message. The "pillars of the middle class ... are under duress, and it starts in our schools," he said.
The debate format cut candidates off fairly quickly and allowed little depth. Still, it became clear that Weiner joins other mayoral candidates who have articulated views counter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's polarizing policies on education.Bloomberg's administration has stressed hiring and firing teachers in accordance with test scores, expanding charter schools and closing schools found to be underperforming city metrics. Now, most candidates are calling for a moratorium on charters and locating them in the same location with public schools. New York has long been the stronghold of these ideas, adopted across the country under the education reform movement. Now, these self-styled reformers are keeping a close eye on elections in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, where the future of the reforms, and their political clout, are in question.
On Tuesday, Weiner called the cycle of closing traditional public schools and replacing them with charter schools a "self-fulfilling prophecy."
"We say, you know what, that school is empty. Let's put a charter in there. Yay, we win!" Weiner said in a mocking tone. The diminishing involvement that leads to those closures, he said, "is because we abandon them [the schools] in the first place." Weiner stressed the importance of adding resources, such as "chemistry labs" and "gyms." Echoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Weiner said teachers who choose to teach in these tough schools should be rewarded with bonuses. - Huffington Post, 5/28/13
It may have been a bad idea for Christine Quinn to skip this debate because Weiner is gaining on her in the polls:His appearance at the event, organized by New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (a group that is opposed to many of the Bloomberg administration's signature education policies) and held at N.Y.U., marked the first time Weiner fielded questions from an audience alongside his rivals for the Democratic nomination.
And since City Council Speaker Christine Quinn skipped the forum, instead scheduling a campaign event in Brooklyn, Weiner was, at least according to the latest Marist poll, the front-runner in the room.
Weiner's answers on a number of questions were different from those given by his rivals who were there (including Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Bill Thompson and Sal Albanese), and less likely to please the group that hosted the event: in addition to the answer to the question about arts funding, Weiner also defended his previous call to make it easier to remove disruptive students from classrooms, and refused to ban co-locations of charter schools without community approval.
Weiner also said he wanted to "reward" teachers who took jobs in more challenging schools.
Asked at one point during the forum if he would fight Governor Andrew Cuomo in order to get money owed to public schools, Weiner said yes, and added, "He started it." - Capital New York, 5/28/13
If you'd like to get involved with Weiner's campaign, you can do so here:Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner has surged to within a few points of Democratic frontrunner Christine Quinn in the days after he announced his mayoral run, according to a new poll.
Weiner, who ended months of speculation by officially announcing his candidacy last week, is now the choice of 19% of the city's registered Democrats, according to a survey released Tuesday by Marist College.
Quinn, the City Council Speaker, remained atop the poll, but her support fell to 24%. That is her lowest mark to this point in the campaign.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio placed third with 12%, followed by ex-Controller Bill Thompson at 11%, Controller John Liu at 8%, ex-councilman Sal Albanese at 1% and Rev. Erick Salgado at less than 1%. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed remain undecided.
Weiner's support has grown now that he has entered the fray. Last month, when rumors began to circulate that he would join the race, a Marist poll placed him at 15%. Quinn had 26%. - New York Daily News, 5/28/13