Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Loretta Prisco on Mayoral Control

The UFT and mayoral candidates all speak against "this mayor" as what is wrong with mayoral control. They propose to "tweak" it, give parents a voice and be fairer to teachers. The problem with mayoral control is much deeper than that.

Education philosophy, content, and policy should not be dictated by a partisan political point of view. That does not mean that education is void of a political point of view in a larger context, to be sure all things are determined by a political point of view, but not in a partisan party point of view determined by electoral politics.  

Educational policy should not reflect the beliefs or pronouncements of a Democratic or Republican candidate.

Mayoral control lead to a mayor running for re-election on platform of improving schools. And how was this done? By using the system and our kids and manipulating the scores to prove that we are doing better. When you arrive in your first year of office, manipulate scores through test selection and scale scores to be low. Then create a test factory and have schools and teachers focus only on reading and math, and the following year, give the same tests, manipulate the scaling. Voila-an improved system.
Education policy should never be determined by the whim and caprice of any individual. Nor should it change with an election every four years. Education change does not happen overnight. Policies have to be given a chance to work-years to work. A system wide, or even a district wide change doesn't happen with teachers getting a CD to view over the summer or a webinar on brooklyn-queens day.

The call for a chancellor who is an educator is a hollow one under mayoral control. The "educator" does what the mayor wants or he/she will be driven out of town.
I want to add that I don't trust the "educator" as chancellor given that there are so many sellout educators. Steiner was a so-called educator and he gave Cathie Black a waiver. So that being a major demand is pretty toothless. Inf act why do we even need a chancellor? In a locally controlled school system he would be fairly irrelevant.

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