When I read her post I instantly remembered that John Mooney recently reported that Barbara Morgan, "public information officer and state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s press secretary," had left the NJDOE to become Weiner's spokeswoman.
Weiner is apparently quite smitten with Morgan.
Mr. Weiner has been slowly hammering together a campaign team, hiring Barbara Morgan, a former spokesman for the city’s Department of Education, whom he described as “a rock star,” as his spokeswoman.Did you catch that? So Morgan was also the spokeswoman of the New York City Department of Education. Actually, she was at the NYC DOE from June 2009 to May 2012, and then she left to come to New Jersey to work with Commissioner Cerf.
So Morgan knows her way around two of the reformiest DOE's in the country, and the fact that Weiner was one of only two candidates to show up at this forum hosted by charter advocates Families for Excellent Schools, seems to be a clear signal that Morgan may try to steer Weiner in a reformy direction.
The campaign of Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, told Families for Excellent Schools today that he would not be able to make the forum, which is one of the first times that charter school advocates will get a chance to ask questions of the candidates. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio also backed out of attending the forum at the last minute.Sure makes you wonder why two candidates backed out with little notice.
Christine Quinn was the only other attendee at the FES event, and she sandbagged an education forum hosted by ParentVoicesNY and moderated by Diane Ravitch.
The mayoral candidates have appeared together at dozens of forums on wide-ranging topics this year. But this is not the first time that a mayoral candidate has dropped out of an education forum shortly beforehand. Last month, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn skipped a forum hosted by ParentVoicesNY and moderated by Diane Ravitch, each vocal critics of the Bloomberg administration’s school policies.Seems these forums may be serving as a sort of ed reform litmus test.
The campaign video on Weiner's website says he went to public schools, and his mom was a public school teacher for 31 years. But he also throws in a gratuitous "our schools aren't what they should be" line.
And so far the "Education Ideas" on his website are pretty thin, like a Kindle in every backpack and eliminating paid parent coordinators.
It's troublesome that Weiner has hired a reformy spokeswoman and was one of only two candidates to attend this charter advocate forum. Let's hope having a public school teacher for a mom is enough of a draw to keep him on the right side of the reformy fence.
|Morgan looks on as Weiner talks to the press. The question is, |
how much influence will she have on his education agenda?