Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., is the latest critic of Democratic New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio's education policies, using a New York Post op-ed Tuesdayto declare his educational policies those of a "petulant tyrant."
"Mayor Bill de Blasio has embarked on a systematic campaign to destroy the city's burgeoning charter school movement," Jindal wrote. "He's diverting more than $200 million in funding marked for charter schools, and has also thrown hundreds of students out of their promised school buildings. He has also declared his intent to nullify arrangements that allow charters to locate in existing public schools rent-free."
DeBlasio is less friendly toward charter schools than his predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the city's education department recently cut $210 million from the charter school program in part to help fund the cost of full day pre-K, one of his major goals.
His administration has come into conflict with Eva Moskowitz, the founder of the Success Academy Charter Schools, when it recently denied three of her schools co-location in traditional school buildings to prevent overcrowding (five others were approved). In the eyes of Jindal, a passionate advocate for increasing school choice through methods like school vouchers, the move had "all the markings of a petulant tyrant holding low-income students hostage."
"As long as they stand on the side of the unions, it seems, President Obama and Mayor de Blasio don't mind standing between children and the opportunity for a great education. But it's clear to me, and it's clear to thousands of parents from the Lower Ninth Ward to the Lower East Side, that their misguided and immoral policies will limit the futures of yet another generation of African-American youths," Jindal wrote.
After a series of controversies - serious and not so serious - DeBlasio has seen his public opinion begin to turn against him during his first two and a half months in office. His approval rating of 53 percent in mid-January had dropped by 45 percent by mid-March, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday. The ratings are highest among Democrats, black and Hispanic voters, but he is underwater with white voters, with just a 39 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval rating. He's been a particular target of ire among Republican voters, who disapprove of him by a margin of 75 to 16 percent.