House Speaker Paul Ryan was greeted by protests as he arrived at Success Academy 1 charter school in Harlem on Tuesday afternoon.
Several hundred protesters began crowding the streets around 11 a.m., mostly chanting about the Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act. By the time Ryan arrived in a caravan of black SUVs around 2 p.m., the crowd had shrunk to about 50 people. Ryan gave a brief wave to protesters before entering the school.
Before his tour of Success, a source familiar with the visit said Ryan also was greeted by the principal of the district school that shares space with Success, PS 149, which serves students with special needs. The school has had friction with Success for years, and was at the center of a political battle with Mayor Bill de Blasio over school space for charter students in 2014.
After his tour, Ryan said in a statement that Success students are receiving a "great education."
"Today was special — touring Success Academy, listening to these great kids and their committed teachers, hearing their stories," Ryan said in the statement. "The quality of teacher training and preparedness was extraordinary."
Success Academy is one the city’s highest-performing charter schools, and Success CEO Eva Moskowitz was on the shortlist to serve as President Trump’s education secretary. (The president ultimately selected Betsy DeVos, who has made charter schools a priority for the administration.)
The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, also visited Success 1 several days after the presidential election in November.
Moskowitz said in a statement she was "pleased to welcome" Ryan, and praised him for coming to Harlem and taking "the opportunity to see firsthand what is working."
"I share Mayor de Blasio’s view (in at least this one case), that open dialogue is essential in finding solutions to our most difficult problems,” she said in the statement.
Other charter school leaders in New York City took issue with Ryan’s visit to the controversial charter network.
"This is not the face of our movement," said Steve Zimmerman, director of the Coalition for Community Charter Schools, a consortium of independent charters.
Ryan left the school at 3:10 p.m., waving again at booing protesters as he climbed into his car.