Monday, March 3, 2008
My Birthday Present...City Council Hearings on Mayoral Control
Gee, how did they know that is what I wanted for my B-Day? (Well, I did get my Beef Wellington at "One if By Land..." last night.) I get to cover for The Wave and then switch hats and spew my 2 minutes of venom. Back later tonight with a report.
The very disappointing news is that every politician seems to want mayoral control in some form but just wants to tweak it. Later in the day, when real parents and teachers spoke they really got to the guts of the issue. Some of them are sending their testimony which I'll put up on the Norm's Notes blog but probably won't get to it till next week.
Randi flew in from Ohio and was actually very good - the UFT should put up her testimony. She wouldn't take a stand on mayoral control because she's waiting to hear the results of the UFT governance meetings. Okaaay!
Leonie Haimson spoke and so did Lisa Donlon, who pointed to some achievements under community control. Queens' David Quintana also made a strong statement. As did another parent from District 24. Ellen Raider from ICOPE and Gene Prisco from ICE, along with me were on the same panel when we spoke. I'm not sure anyone was listening.
I spoke about getting politics out of education. Sure! Ask politicians to do this. I pointed to how shameless they were about staying silent when Joel Klein got a waiver to be Chancellor. I said a bunch more but need to check my notes and I'm too lazy to do that now. You've probably read it here already.
Know what I think? They're all scared shitless of Bloomberg and his money. When he is gone, he will still exercise enormous influence over education to assure the monster will not be dismantled.
Check out Tuesday's NY Times for Jennifer Medina's story. I'll add some pics to this post tomorrow.
I tried to blog live from the Council chambers but only got this far before my wi-fi conked out (I was using that little XO laptop). I walked in towards the end of Klein and Walcott's testimony.
City Council Chamber, City Hall
March 3, 2008
Vacca wants bigger role for dist supt.
Who do parents go to?
Klein says parent coordinator. [Of course they work for DOE, not parents.]
Yassky agrees significant progress has been made under Klein due to someone being in charge. Wants to improve mayoral control.
Jackson: PEP - mayor appoints most of panel. They are looked at as rubber stamps. Brings up Monday Night Massacre and firing of 3 panel members over 3rd grade retention. Why not have independent panel members?
Walcott: they are independent volunteers [sure, they demonstrate that all the time]. They should be accountable to people who appoint them.
John Liu: Top down accountability - how many CEO's? Klein says about half dozen. They have response. but subject to me. Used to be called Directors. Walcott thinks there used to be ceo's at old doe.
Brings up grad rates. Klein claims grad rates have risen from 47% in '86 to 51% in '02 to 60% in '06. Highest in 20 yrs. State says it is 50%.