Home > Uncategorized > Natalie Goldberg is More Forgiving of de Blasio Than I… But Her Ultimate Conclusion is He’s the Best of a Sorry Lot

Natalie Goldberg is More Forgiving of de Blasio Than I… But Her Ultimate Conclusion is He’s the Best of a Sorry Lot

December 1, 2020

NY Times op ed writer Natalie Goldberg is always insightful, offering a unique and multi-hued perspective to issues that too many other writers reduce to black-and-white. Her column in today’s paper, “On Pandemic Schooling, de Blasio is Actually Leading“, is a good case in point. She describes the criticisms leveled against Mayor de Blasio by nearly everyone in New York City and the national press. Indeed, her opening paragraph could not be more withering:

Sometimes it seems like the single point of consensus in America’s fractured politics is contempt for New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio.

And she does a good job of explaining why that contempt exists, offering particular criticism for de Blasio’s lack of communication skills, which echoes the post I wrote yesterday about him:

De Blasio’s public communication has been characteristically awful, and his policy zigzags have induced whiplash among many parents. Those who haven’t opted into part-time in-person education probably won’t have the opportunity to return full-time; it’s a possibility only because many schools have just a small fraction of students attending. The city has done a poor job of explaining why the previous threshold for closing schools — a citywide coronavirus positivity rate of 3 percent — no longer applies.

But despite his gaffes in strategy early in the pandemic, she notes that he has struck on a path forward that is superior to that of any American mayor and, unlike many of his cohorts who lead major cities, de Blasio has worked in cooperation with the teachers union who, in turn, have looked to science for the most reasonable path forward:

“(NYC Union President Michael) Mulgrew and I were both convinced by the doctors that we were talking to, and the industrial hygienists that we were talking to,” (AFT President Randi) Weingarten said, that with the right safeguards and enough testing, “schools could reopen safely.”

In the final analysis, despite his bumbling and stumbling actions leading up to his latest decision, Ms. Goldberg concludes that de Blasio is the best that the country has to offer when it comes to overseeing the reopening of an urban school district:

His off-again-on-again reopening has been maddening, but look around the country. No matter how much people love to hate de Blasio, there aren’t many examples of mayors handling the school crisis better.

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