Friday, August 14, 2009

There's a lot of gnashing of teeth over the details of mayoral control bills - Updated

UPDATED Aug. 17, 1AM:

The GEM blog has some details: Disparate bills signed into law?

I gave up the ghost on trying to stop mayoral control this round - about 5 years ago. It was clear as Ed Notes has reported since 2001 that the UFT supports mayoral control. Thus, the reality of a serious attempt on the part of politicians to kill it would get little traction without UFT support. As we always say, the gorilla in the room is the enabler of so much that emanates from handing control over to a politician - narrow education, manipulated stats, merit pay, using data reports to measure teacher effectiveness, etc.

The problem as I see it has been the reliance on working with politicians to tweak this or tweak that. Until it was way too late I heard very few politicians with oomph oppose mayoral control. All we heard was checks and balances.

There have been too many forces arrayed in favor, from Obama on down.

It will take half a generation of the failure of this model before people wake up, though we started seeing signs recently

At the very end of the process I actually heard Robert Jackson who supported mayoral control with tweaks, thank Charles and Inez Barron at a City Hall press conference on July 31 for showing him the light - I have video of that awkward Jackson/Barron hug.

When I spoke to an aide to Harlem State Senator Bill Perkins at the first PS 123 rally on July 7 I called Perkins a tweaker. He agreed and asked, "What is the alternative?" I said, "go back to the old system and tweak that. At least that will give people some more involvement and remove absolute power from the hands of one person." He replied that maybe it was time to think about that. For the past month Perkins had led the way. He will be joined by others as time goes by.
(Video of that rally here.)

The 14 years of Chicago failure are beginning to seep into consciousness and I read an article (I can't remember which) that indicates there is much more debate going on over the issue in other cities and towns contemplating the mayoral control model. Some are even considering reversal.

I am predicting that by the end of the next 4 years of the failure of BloomKlein (or whoever takes Klein's place if he leaves - and watch them put in an "educator" who will function no differently) will change the landscape. But unless Bloomberg runs for a 4th term, with 2 years remaining for mayoral control, we will start to see people saying, "Give the next mayor a chance."

I say NO.
I don't care if the next mayor is the reincarnation of Ghandi.

Our job? To organize an effective alternative and a grassroots mass movement to execute it.


  1. The last paragraph is paramount. In New York in the absence of leadership from the UFT, the case against the mayor's "reforms" is not getting through.

  2. You have no idea what you are talking about. What you want is too return to a failed system with no accountability.

    You want to put the blame on everything else and everyone else so that you don't have to be held accountable.

    We had a failed system that was tweaked, and tweaked and tweaked and we still had the same results, less than 50% graduation rate.

    If people don't think that the deterioration of our neighborhoods isn't linked to the poor quality of education that was endorsed by the BOARD of Education you haven't been in education in NYC long enough.

    I am tired of hearing from those of you who did not witness what went on in the Bronx and other places.

    Hopefully, MAYORAL CONTROL is here to stay. Maybe that will create a new type of candidate - an Educationally Minded Candidate.

    Our entire Political system is controlled by Lawyer types manipulating the system for their own benefit.

    You should be writing about where are all the qualified candidates.


  3. Sorry ES, I absolutely know what I am talking about. I spent 35 years in a corrupt district where $8 million disappeared. But you want to know something? It still worked better than under mayoral control. And I bet a lot more than that has disappeared.

    There were a bunch of districts that did work - if you are going by the phony stats then I bet there has been no improvement in those districts.

    There was very little twaeking but at the end there was a lot more oversight.

    To jump into an unproven system is insane. It hasn't worked in Chicago and it will not work here. You are naive if you think there will be an education mayor. Even if there was the followup after leaving office could be awful. So let's figure out a way to have a board of education independent of politics and tweak what we have to do to give locals control with lots of oversight.


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