A video interview released last month by Nomiki Konst of The Young Turks has raised the profile of the controversial eight member Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of NY legislators who have entered a “strategic” power sharing coalition with Republicans in a closely divided State Senate.
The IDC is actually receiving money from the very wealthy through pro-charter PACs to deny long-owed school funding to the poorest districts in NY. The good news is there is still time to come through for NY schools, but the final budget vote is less than two weeks away.
The IDC has been a sore issue for New York Democrats who outnumber Republicans two to one. In the age of Trump, however, the IDC has seen a sharp rise in the number of grassroots groups coalescing to pressure rogue IDC senators to help mainline Democrats regain the majority as issues like campaign finance, taxation, healthcare and education funding hang in the balance.
Teacher and parent groups were keen to learn from the TYT video that IDC members take funding from the same charter school backers that fund Republicans and were concerned that the IDC is helping Trump and Betsy DeVos increase privatization of NY’s public schools.
In the NYC suburb of Rockland County, founding IDC member David Carlucci learned a local resistance group was forming and attended a meeting to explain his IDC membership. I went to the meeting and asked Senator Carlucci if he supports charter schools and if he takes money from charter school backers:
As the video shows, Senator Carlucci was in no rush to get on the record for or against charter schools. He instead offered “public schools [are] my top priority”, but would not disclose whether or not he opposes charter schools, even as the approaching NY state budget vote will include a measure to increase the number of charter schools in nearby NYC. Other IDC members are on the record in support of charter schools.