Friday, May 7, 2010

An Education Election in Harlem

I just want to flag for your attention an interesting political situation developing up in Harlem. Bill Perkins, who will never be accused of being a fan of charter schools, is facing a primary election challenge from a candidate who seems to be running entirely on a pro-charter platform. Now, that's according to the Post, which has a pretty clear position on charters and isn't afraid to let that position creep into its news reporting. They're also not especially known for their nuance. Still, this could be an education-based election. And that's pretty exciting.

If the election really does turn into a referendum of charter schools, it'll be an interesting test. Perkins is counting on big support from the UFT and Smilke (his opponent) is counting on the help of charter school operators and a groundswell of parent support. How much the ground actually swells for him is the big question. Is it going to be enough to knock off an incumbent with strong union backing?

Fast forwarding a few months, I can already see the Post coverage. If Smilke wins, it's going to be a victory for Harlem children who rose up against those who would resist charter schools. If Perkins wins, it's going to be a victory for the corrupt UFT and their status-quo-loving allies, which will be proof of how corrupt and status-quo-loving the UFT really is. For the Post, this is a no-lose situation. In reality, it's going to be pretty interesting to watch.

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