“‘Race baiting’ like ‘red baiting’, exploiting the values and legitimate concerns of our city’s communities of color, for whatever political purpose, is abhorrent and posits a dangerous and expanding wedge in a city all to segregated by class, color and community,” Mr. Acosta stated, noting that Roberto Perez, a City Hall staffer, encouraged him to speak out. “It is abhorrent that a movement that emerged as a demand to tell the truth is used to obfuscate, divide and attempt to denigrate New York City’s progressive agenda”.
While Mr. de Blasio is enlisting surrogates to fight back on his behalf, his office was a bit less hostile, though it called the ad “crass.” “Our students and our families need solutions, not another crass political ad. That’s why Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina are focused on ensuring that every child, in every classroom, has a future that isn’t limited by their ZIP code,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor.
Since failing last year to halt the expansion of Success Academy Charter Schools, run by his old political foe Eva Moskowitz, Mr. de Blasio has softened his rhetoric toward charter schools, even as his liberal allies continue to seethe. Democratic elected officials aligned with the city and state teachers’ unions see charters as a thinly-veiled, well-moneyed effort to erode job protections for teachers.
“These folks have figured out a way to make profit off the same kids that they disdained for years and years. As far as I’m concerned, its predatory education, subprime schools,” Ms. Lewis said. “Eva Moskowitz and none of them wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t making enormous profit. To then turn around and say, ‘Oh black people, I’m trying to save you from the big bad white man, the mayor, who wants to put you in a failing school’–that’s racist.”
A spokesman for FES declined to comment.
Updated with comments from Mr. Acosta and Mr. Norvell.