It begins: New NYC schools chancellor will push ‘progressive agenda’

Robby Soave Reporter
Font Size:

Now that New York City Mayor and far-left Democrat Bill de Blasio has chosen Carmen Farina to become chancellor of NYC schools, city residents can expect a sharp turn to the left on education policy.

Farina, a former teacher and long-time adviser to de Blasio, shares the mayor’s desire to foist a “progressive agenda” upon NYC schools, she said at a news conference earlier this week.

“This progressive agenda actually says we know there are things that need to happen, but they need to happen with people, not to people,” she said.

That means liberal education goals — including an expansion of taxpayer-funded pre-K and elimination of merit-based pay for teachers — will definitely be a top priority for the new administration.

Farina taught in a Brooklyn elementary school for over 20 years, eventually becoming a principal. She became known as a supporter for supplemental after-school programs and universal pre-K as she transitioned to more prestigious jobs in the city education administration. She retired in 2006, and is now 70 years old.

The daughter of Spanish immigrants, Farina felt “invisible” when she attended school as a child, according to Fox News Latino. Promoting racial integration of New York schools continues to be a top priority of both Farina and de Blasio.

Both take a more skeptical view of charter schools, school choice and standardized testing than former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican who became an independent during his terms in office. In fact, Farina personally battled a charter school that attempted to move into her neighborhood in 2011.

School reform advocates are already worried that Farina and de Blasio are likely to roll back some of the institutional and financial support that Bloomberg provided to the city’s charter school movement. Modifying the city’s lease agreements with charter schools could force them to pay thousands more dollars per student.

It’s less clear how Farina will proceed on Common Core, the national curriculum guidelines currently being implemented all over the country. Like many moderate chief executives, Bloomberg supported the standards. Rank-and-file teachers union members — as well as many conservatives — remain deeply skeptical of Common Core and its required testing, however. (RELATED: Common Core haters are ‘misinformed,’ says New York ed commissioner)

Farina supports the curriculum component of Common Core, but may opt to modify the standardized testing it requires in order to make things more palatable to evaluation-conscious teachers. If that happens, NYC liberals might just get every education-related thing they could ever want.

Follow Robby on Twitter