In a Democratic primary race repeatedly accused of lacking zest, embellishments of the truth are not exactly in short supply—even when it comes to a candidate’s own mother.
In last week’s Town Hall meeting, broadcast on NY1’s “Road to City Hall,” Democratic candidate Anthony Weiner answered a question about education in which he railed against Bloomberg’s 2003 education system renovation, claiming that his own mother retired from 31 years as a public school teacher due, in part, to the fact that the mayor “took so much of the creativity out of the classroom with a cookie-cutter approach.”
The $35 million plan adopted a top-down approach to bettering NYC schools and allowed Bloomberg to wield greater authority in the selection of chancellors and superintendents. Under the new program, all public schools—save the roughly 200 best performing ones—must obey much stricter lesson plans.
Weiner told the NY1 audience that it was these restrictions that prompted his mother to retire from her position as a high school math teacher at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, along with the “refusal on the part of this administration to negotiate a raise” for teachers.
Weiner is merely the latest mayoral hopeful to stretch the truth in his quest for a lukewarm point and some ink in the papers.
Indeed, a raise refusal might have been a legitimate incentive to quit if not for the fact that the very same mayor that passed the education reforms that prompted his mother’s retirement preceded that move with the biggest teacher’s salary hike in NYC history—up to 22 percent for certified educators.
And yes, Weiner’s campaign confirmed, Mom was indeed certified.
But that’s not the best part. The Board of Education told the Voice that Midwood High School, where Fran Weiner taught, was one of the few schools that were exempt altogether from Hizzoner’s policy changes.
If only Weiner had done his homework.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 8, 2005