–Mayor de Blasio at his post-election media briefing, Nov. 8, 2017
Mayor de Blasio’s biggest first-term accomplishment was an education initiative: universal pre-K. But K-12 education had a much lower profile during the mayor’s first four years than it did over Michael Bloomberg’s terms in office, largely because de Blasio avoided fights with the teacher’s union and stayed away from the wholesale organizational change that his predecessor embraced not once but several times.
That could be about to change. Immediately after his resounding re-election, de Blasio named education “the issue I put my greatest passion and energy into.” Shortly before the end of the year the woman who has guided the Department of Education since early in de Blasio’s mayoralty, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, announced she would step down in mid-2018. School closures loom on the horizon as time runs out on some of the mayor’s Renewal Schools. And the mayor’s Equity and Excellence Agenda will be challenged by a governor who says he wants to know more about how school systems divvy up their funds, by a new Council education committee chair who wants to focus on the quality of school facilities, and by voices from the mayor’s base who want more aggressive action to desegregate education in New York City.