Zephyr Teachout And The Working Families Party Reunite To Attack Gov. Cuomo On Charter Schools
Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout is promising to remain a thorn in Gov. Cuomo's side -- the former gubernatorial challenger is re-joining forces with the Working Families Party Tuesday to fight Cuomo on charter schools, the Daily News has learned.
The WFP -- which picked Teachout as its candidate for governor before ditching her to endorse Cuomo in the Democratic primary last June -- is teaming up with its old ally to fight Cuomo's efforts to raise the state's cap on charter schools in a possible special session next week.
On Tuesday, they plan to release a report entitled “Corruption in Education: The Hedge Fund Takeover of New York's Schools."
Many of Cuomo's top donors are funding the charter school lobby, Teachout charges, singling out in the report Carl Icahn, Paul Tudor Jones and Dan Loeb for pouring "more than $10 million into state lobbying and election campaigns since the beginning of 2014, with electrifying results."
“I see Cuomo trying to pass policy in hasty, secretive ways,” she said in an interview. "Cuomo is trying to redefine education policy on the fly, in a one-week period after a seven-week campaign. I think it hasn't gone through the layer of public debate.”
Tuesday will mark Teachout's first press conference since the election cycle, and she gleefully promised it won't be her last. She said she plans to hold Cuomo's feet to the fire on other “crisis” issues, such as hydro-fracking.
“I feel pretty free to call out politicians, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, if I think they’re not doing their job or if I disagree with them,” she said. “The nice thing about being a law professor is you have a lot of freedom to be involved.”
The WFP last June agreed to endorse Cuomo after he promised to help Democrats take over the State Senate. But he failed to deliver on that promise.
Now the union-backed party plans to fight him on policy issues.
"Any time Gov. Cuomo chooses to represent wealthy campaign donors rather than New York's working families, he can expect to find us on the opposing side,” said WFP director Bill Lipton. "Zephyr is a force to be reckoned with and we're proud to launch this campaign with her."
For her part, Teachout said she's excited to be working with her old ally.
“I’m thrilled to get a chance to work with the WFP,” Teachout said. “[Public education policy] is something the WFP cares a lot about, and we’ll have a lot more followers by combining our forces.”
A spokesman for hedgefund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, a major charter school investor and a Cuomo donor, declined to comment.
A Cuomo source said there is no special session next week and said the WFP and Teachout were "delusional. They are once again carrying the water of the teachers union instead of the students of New York."