Mayoral Control of NY School System Questioned

by NYC Firm Schools on June 29, 2009

Michael Bloomberg
Creative Commons License photo credit: David Berkowitz

The NY Times took issue with Mayor Bloomberg’s extremist view on the potential for disaster if his complete control of the NY School system was not retained beyond its June 30th expiration date.

“If the Senate passes something that differs by one word or more,” he warned on Thursday, “it is saying to the city: ‘We want to resurrect the Soviet Union. We want to bring back chaos.’ ” In February, he said, “I think that there’d be riots in the streets.”

Any changes to the current policy would, as stated by the NY Times,

involve stripping the mayor of his nearly unilateral authority over the school system and restoring power to a seven-person Board of Education, which, during its three decades of rule, had a reputation for back-room deals and incurable strife

The article takes in several key points of view from both the mayor’s side and the parent’s and board members.

there is little consensus on several key issues, including whether, much less how, to bring back the 32 neighborhood school boards that oversaw schools in their districts and hired superintendents. Under the old law, those board members would be elected next May.
Some Department of Education officials worry those messy lines of authority, and the potential for lawsuits, could interfere with the smooth operation of summer school and preparation for the fall term.

“The law provides for no transition whatsoever, and the implications are troubling,” said Dawn Walker, a spokeswoman for the mayor.
“Would the sky fall?” asked Mr. Sanders, who now is a lobbyist for the New York State School Boards Association and is seeking major changes to mayoral control. “No.”

The NY Times article does not come out and give an opinion on which way NY Schools would be better managed, however, they did take the time to put out one more jab on the potential excitability of Bloomberg’s previous statement.

Still, there was a sign on Friday that Mr. Bloomberg was confident the law would be renewed in time: his Police Department, when asked if it was preparing for any riots, did not comment.

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