It was a nonstop weekend for Mayor de Blasio who started his Saturday morning by speaking to Latino lawmakers in Albany and then headed home to hit the Inner Circle show in midtown. In his strong dramatic debut, the mayor channeled his inner Ralph Kramden while performing in a song-and-dance revue styled after “Saturday Night Live.” Yesterday, de Blasio appeared with Sen. Charles Schumer and tried to give some relief to Housing Authority buildings that are still using “temporary” boilers nearly 17 months after Hurricane Sandy struck the city. But it was the mayor’s Sunday-morning sermon about charter schools that he delivered from the pulpit of Riverside Church that is understandably getting the most attention.
After seeing his feud with charter school doyenne Eva Moskowitz threaten to swallow his education agenda, the mayor admitted that the fight over the future of a handful of schools has become a distraction, saying: “We made some decisions in the last weeks, striving for fairness. But I have to tell you I didn’t measure up when it came to explaining those decisions to the people of the city.”
De Blasio also offered a note of conciliation to charter school supporters while admitting that many traditional public schools have a long way to go.
"So many parents are simply looking for the best for their children. And sadly they don’t see it enough in their neighborhood schools," he said.
It’s an important rhetorical pivot for the de Blasio, who may be realizing that while it’s impossible for eight million New York Yorkers to agree with him, he needs for them to at least understand the motivations behind his policies. And the mayor should keep remembering that while he won in a landslide, turnout was abysmal and only about 18 percent of registered voters in the city actually cast their ballots for him. Remembering the other 82 percent is the best way for the mayor to imitate Ralph Kramden -- if he wants to see his approval ratings go to the moon.