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Rudy and Bill de B: Not-so-odd power couple when it comes to school control

Writing a letter.

Writing a letter. Credit: iStock

Shortly before Election Day 2013, Rudy Giuliani, who left City Hall more than 13 years ago, demanded that mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio apologize for his criticism of police policies. “The whole rationale for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign is phony," Giuliani said at the time.

Last month, while Giuliani rode a wave of renewed attention stemming from his "Obama doesn't love America" claim, de Blasio was quoted as saying: "I find it a cheap political trick for Rudy Giuliani to question the president’s love of the country. That is just – that is stooping very, very low, even for him."

Now comes word that the pair finds a bit of common ground -- urging Albany to permanently renew mayoral control of the schools, rather than do so for three years as the usually Giuliani-friendly Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo seeks to do. Which is not to say it has much effect either way, given the absence of any visible movement to return the city to a more decentralized power scenario as it had under the old Board of Education.

For what it's worth -- and that remains to be seen -- here is the letter of joint support from de Blasio and his predecessor of two mayoralties ago:

March 23, 2015

 Dear Governor Cuomo and State Legislators:

 One of the most effective ways to ensure the success of our public schools is with direct accountability -- and mayoral control of the New York City public school system provides exactly that.

 This is a proven reform with broad support among parents, educators and officials from all ends of the spectrum. Mayoral control provides parents and taxpayers alike with a clear answer on who to hold responsible for the academic performance for our children.  It enables the elected mayor to enact innovative new policies and make vital changes, while also empowering local communities through Community and Citywide Education Councils and the Panel for Educational Policy.

 Proposals that would limit mayoral control will only take us backward to a time of blurred lines of accountability. Graduation rates, college readiness rates, and test scores are showing signs of improvement, and the success of our children demands that we move forward.

 It is no secret that the two of us disagree on a great many things – but we both know that mayoral control of the public school system ensures direct accountability and is absolutely essential for the future progress and development of New York City schools.  This is why Mayor Giuliani made securing mayoral control a top priority of his education agenda, and pushed hard for its implementation during his tenure.  And it is why Mayor de Blasio is fighting hard to extend and secure mayoral control. 

 We urge the state of New York to act this legislative session to protect mayoral control of New York City public schools.


 Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Rudy Giuliani

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