Cantor, de Blasio trade fire over education

New York’s new Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has gotten the attention of at least one powerful Republican in Washington: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Cantor and de Blasio traded jabs on Wednesday over education policy just a week after the Brooklyn Democrat took over for billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent. De Blasio won a landslide victory in November and has vowed to usher in a new era of progressive policies in the five boroughs.

In prepared remarks for a speech at the Brookings Institution, Cantor called out de Blasio over his reported plans to rein in charter schools, which had expanded dramatically in New York during Bloomberg’s 12 years in office.

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During his 2013 campaign, de Blasio said he would charge charter schools higher rent and criticized the Bloomberg policy of allowing them to share space with traditional public schools.

“This move could devastate the growth of education opportunity in such a competitive real estate market like New York City,” Cantor said in his prepared remarks. “Just think, how many families will have their choices taken away if Mayor de Blasio pursues these policies? Mayor de Blasio should abandon this plan and allow New York's charter schools to continue to flourish.”

Cantor went a step further, suggesting the House would hold hearings if de Blasio moved against charter schools in New York.

"Our committees in the House will remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure no one from the government stands in the schoolhouse door between any child and a good education," he planned to say.

De Blasio fired back in a statement to The Hill, issued through a spokesman.

“The Republican agenda in Washington doesn’t even scratch the surface of the inequities facing more than a million children in our public schools,” the mayor said. “It’s a dangerous philosophy that turns its back on public education — and it has failed many times before. What public school parents want — and I know because I’m one of them — are real investments that lift up all our kids. That will take big, bold, progressive ideas. And that’s exactly what the people of New York City just voted for.”