By Micah Morrison
Presidential races are critically important, but no matter who helms the Oval Office after the 2020 election, New York City will face enormous challenges brought on by Covid-19 and years of mismanagement by Mayor de Blasio. Crime is rising, social disorder is accelerating, the city economy is in tatters, and our schools are in deep trouble.
I’ve seen this up close as a proud resident of Queens, chief investigative reporter for the watchdog group Judicial Watch, and a member of the Queens District 28 Community Education Council. The CECs are part of New York City’s school governance structure, a middle ground between parents and the Department of Education. There is a CEC for every school district in New York. Our D28 CEC supports 40 elementary and middle schools—more than 40,000 kids—in Central Queens.
I recently wrote in the New York Post that during my time at the CEC, I’ve seen a community that is filled with moderate, thoughtful people. But there’s also a contingent of hard-core “progressives” intent on imposing their agenda on the city. They are led by a truly radical schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, and a mayoral administration aiming to ram through a left-wing educational agenda under the banner of “diversity.”
Today, the stakes are rising, because de Blasio and Carranza know they are running out of time.
2021 will bring the most consequential New York City municipal elections in a generation. Open positions include mayor, city comptroller, a majority of City Council seats, and the influential Manhattan DA’s Office.
District 28 is at the center of the radical push on education policy. Last year, Carranza’s DOE introduced a “Diversity Planning Process” that turned out to be no true process at all, and a mockery of diversity. But they did have a plan.
Kids, it appeared, would be moved to different schools to achieve a racial balance. Parents were aghast. Would there be busing? How would moving children fix school-funding issues? What about the Gifted & Talented programs? What about the SHSAT—the Specialized High School Admission Test for entry to the city’s top schools? It turned out that while G&T and SHSAT were not directly linked to Diversity Planning, Carranza had plans to scrap those too, in the name of “equity.”
Carranza has been open about his agenda. “We see [the Covid-19 crisis] as an opportunity to finally push and move and be very strategic in a very aggressive way what we know is the equity agenda for our kids,” he said in an April 16 address.
In District 28, the community revolted. We slowed down Carranza’s plan. The pandemic led to an additional pause. But my reporting for the Post uncovered big City Hall money behind the diversity push and the apparent intention to impose radical change—enforced diversity, an assault on G&T and SHSAT—in the coming months.
It’s true that fault lines of racism and inequity run beneath the social topography of New York City. But solutions imposed from the top down will not work. Traditional American conservatism recognizes that imperfect as we all are, we can work together to form a more perfect union.
At the CEC, I introduced a resolution to scrap the mayor’s diversity planning process, pausing it for a year, until the pandemic passed, and starting over in a way that celebrates the diversity of Queens. The Left denounced me and my effort failed in a close CEC vote.
In 2021, all New Yorkers will get to vote. Republicans, conservatives, and embattled moderates need to come together to offer compelling alternatives to the programs of the Left that currently dominate New York City politics. In 2021, if we fail to act, those programs will grow much more powerful.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch and a member of the Queens District 28 Community Education Council. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org