Saturday, May 07, 2016


Mayoral control sunsets this June. We wrote about it last week.

I have been reading the engaging debate over at Perdido Street School on the subject. It seems that there is a legitimate fear that if mayoral control of the schools is not renewed, Senate Republicans and Governor Andrew Cuomo will come up with something worse where the charter school sector will get more power. No they won't.

Albany has gerrymandered disticts in such a way so that the State Assembly is almost assured to have a strong Democratic majority. The Assembly is not going to agree to a state takeover of the system or something as crazy. If Senator Flanagan's Republicans in the Senate are willing to let mayoral control expire, I say let it happen.

Do nothing and it expires in June. They are quite adept at doing nothing in Albany.

The system would then revert to a seven member Board of Education with the mayor having two members and the five borough presidents having one each. I worked under the old system and it was not an ideal system of school governance but believe it or not, it was much less dysfunctional than the current system of mayoral dictatorship. Under the old Board of Education, there were true checks and balances.

If mayoral control sunsets, the mayor would have no direct say over the schools and would have to get agreement of at least two of the borough president's representatives to keep his chancellor. If four of the borough presidents could line up, we could see real change this summer.

If it were to revert to the old system, which I still think is a real long shot, the Assembly would not let mayoral control return even if a pro-charter mayor is elected in 2017. Borough presidents would love to have some real power over the schools and I don't see them wanting to relinquish their newly reborn authority over schools if they got it back.

Odds are this is all being worked out so there will be another one year extension of mayoral control that the Republicans will "reluctantly" grant Mayor de Blasio in exchange for some pro-charter law. I believe the Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo are happy to force de Blasio to come to Albany for renewal every year and then if he is out, it will be extended for five or more years so that a pro-charter mayor can destroy the public schools.

If the UFT was smart (we can dream can't we), they would tell their friends in the Assembly to do what Queen Elsa sang in Frozen and Let It Go when it comes to mayoral control.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Another strike against you from Mike, James. Everything teachers and the UFT does or doesn't do is out of fear. Support DeBlasio because the next mayor might be worse; don't support Teachout became Cuomo might win and get angry; don't support Sanders in case Hillary wins; keep your head down and don't let them notice you; don't stand up for yourself because you'll end up an ATR; if you're an ATR don't stand up for yourself because you'll end up at a 3020a; don't have a public hearing or use your own lawyer because it might upset the city. Lose your career and your dignity, and wonder how it all happened. Vote Unity and Mulgrew out.