Perhaps the reluctance of Legislature leaders to renew the mayor’s control over New York’s public school system is more than just an effort to torture Mayor Eric Adams. Their final choice for the Board of Regents, which controls the State Education Department, is certainly a grim sign.
With Speaker Carl Heastie’s House Democrats firmly in control, the legislature in joint session this month nominated Shino Tanikawa for a five-year term on the board beginning April 1.
Heastie has moved regents to the far left — anti-norms, anti-choice, anti-accountability — since taking office as president, but Tanikawa is his most radical choice yet.
She has a clear record of being anti-test, arguing that standardized tests are racist and even seeming to suggest that academic achievement is an indicator of white privilege. Critics call it not just anti-white, but even anti-Asian — at least, anti-Asian-who-stands-for-excellence. (WeChat groups in Chinese erupted into an uproar when news of his appointment broke.)
Tanikawa is also a vocal opponent of mayoral control and charter schools. The Soho resident has also lobbied to eliminate Gifted & Talented programs, screened admissions to middle and high schools, and test-in-only entry to specialist high schools.
She once wrote to another member of the Manhattan Community Education Council 2: “I have no interest in collaborating with you on political positions until you show your commitment to working against racism” – “l ‘anti-racism’, of course, being the label for outright racism. in the name of racial justice.
She also has a history of parents who speak badly and disagree with her. As a key member of the de Blasio school’s diversity advisory group, she took a “burning the house” approach rather than reaching out to find common ground.
In short, she’s the opposite of new City Chancellor David Banks, who argues that “literacy is equity” — meaning the best thing public schools can do for racial justice is to ensure that children learn to read and then excel academically.
Worse still, his appointment places the Board of Regents in the grip of the ideologues and minions of the teachers’ unions bent on watering down or outright eliminating all standards of achievement and excellence.
Basically, until voters revolt and force Heastie to change course, state education policy will be set by people who are fundamentally opposed to schools teaching what children actually need to learn. to learn.
Which, since Adams and Banks are staunchly pro-excellence, suggests that Heastie (with the connivance of state senate leaders) might actually be intent on killing the mayor’s check if he isn’t. obliged to do so as part of this month’s budget resolutions.