City Council member and former teacher Daniel Dromm, a Queens representative, was officially selected by new Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to chair the City Council’s education committee. In a statement, Dromm pledged to focus his work on universal prekindergarten, class size reduction, and tolerance for students of any sexual orientation.

Dromm was elected to the City Council in 2009. Before that, he was an elementary school teacher at P.S. 199 in Queens for 25 years and a day care center director for another six years. Dromm became a gay rights pioneer in 1992 when he came out on the cover of Newsday in opposition to his school board’s opposition to “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum that included references to same-sex couples.

Here is a statement his office just sent over:

“I am deeply honored to have been nominated as Chairperson of the Education Committee. Education has always been my passion and is what got me involved in politics in the first place.  I look forward to working with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to address education issues such as ensuring universal pre-kindergarten for all preschoolers, reducing class size, improving teacher morale, ensuring teachers have a role in the decision making process and fighting to create a safe and supportive environment for all students but especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students.  I am tremendously excited to serve in this capacity.”

A member of the council’s ever-growing progressive caucus, Dromm is aligned on many issues with other leaders in city government, including Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The coziness has alarmed some who believe there should be more political diversity in government.

In an interview, Dromm downplayed those concerns and said he believed the new dynamic between the City Council and City Hall would elevate his bully pulpit power to elevate education issues that are important to him.

“In politics, you can be friends but still challenge each other on certain issues,” Dromm said. “We certainly need to move away from the Bloomberg era where our input was minimized.”

Dromm is a critic of education policies enacted under Mayor Bloomberg, including his support of charter schools.

“I’m deeply concerned about them taking resources away from our public school students,” Dromm said. “I’m also concerned with the corporatization of charters.”

Dromm added that he supports one of the charter schools in his district, the unionized Renaissance Charter School, which he called a “model charter school.”

Below is a complete list of council members who will serve on the education committee, re-posted from Politicker.

EDUCATION
Dromm, Chair
Vincent Gentile
Daniel Garodnick
Margaret Chin
Stephen Levin
Deborah Rose
Mark Weprin
Jumaane Williams
Andy King
Inez Barron
Chaim Deutsch
Mark Levine
Alan Maisel
Antonio Reynoso
Mark Treyger