1. You have no choice. De Blasio's opponent, Joe Lhota, thinks Mayor Bloomberg is a swell fella, loves his policies, and wants to double down on charter schools. He thinks skin color is a fine reason to stop and frisk people on the street, and wants to continue the Emperor's policies. He wants to continue the disastrous policies of closing schools rather than trying to improve them. He also wants to make sure people making over a half-mil per year don't pay another dime in taxes.
2. There's no evidence de Blasio is like Obama. A lot of us have buyer's remorse about President Hopey-Changey, who told the NEA he'd do it, "with ya, not to ya," and then appointed corporate crud Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Obama clearly favored charters and said so. He was supported by DFER. There was plenty of evidence about how reformy he was, but in 2008, many of us held our noses and hoped for the best. What has de Blasio said about charters? He's said he would charge Eva Moskowitz and pals rent. He's spoken out against colocation, and he wants to end the divisive and baseless letter-rating of schools.
3. De Blasio stands with unions. Last Friday I went to a rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall and listened to de Blasio speak about how union builds communities and middle class. He said he would end the policy of vilifying those of us who help run the city. He painted us as helping rather than hindering the city's progress, and promised this...
“I will start by actually liking the people who do the work.”And also, de Blasio told UFT members at the Waldorf that he envisioned a city...
"where (teachers are) honored, you're respected, your work is put on the pedestal it should be put on, you're told every day by a mayor and a chancellor: we need you, we appreciate you, we thank you and we'll work together with you to help every single child in this city."
4. While de Blasio doesn't commit to retroactive pay, we are two contracts behind. Every teacher wants a raise, not having had one for five years. But Emperor Bloomberg opted to screw us in the 2008-2010 round of pattern bargaining, in which almost every other union got an unconditional 8% raise. Whatever crap pattern they offer in the next round will be seriously endangered if they decide to drop pattern bargaining by failing to offer it to us. For example, if the new pattern is 0, 0, 2 or some other such nonsense, there will be no reason for other unions to fall in line if the new mayor decides not to enforce the pattern. We are also involved in non-binding arbitration with PERB, for whatever that's worth, but whatever they decree, messing with the pattern could be enormously costly to the city.
Politicians and politics being what they are, there are no guarantees. Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical you get, you just can't keep up." She's right. And I understand we can make mistakes. When UFT endorsed Thompson, it made sense to me. Wiener was then in first place, and I was sure he was the only person who could make Lhota mayor. But once de Blasio surged I refused to work against him. So did a lot of UFT folks I know (including some pretty staunch Unity members).
But the best thing we can do now is make sure we get out and give Bill de Blasio a landslide victory for the policies he publicly supports. I say vote early, vote often, and vote for Bill de Blasio.
And one more thing--the next mayor will be the first mayor with children in NYC public schools!