If the Democrats would have shown some spine and called the Republican bluff on school governance, the system would have reverted to the 1996 law which took hiring out of the hands of local school boards to ease the corruption associated with the old system. That governance system gave the borough presidents a check on the mayor's power with a representative from each on the Board of Education while the mayor only had two BOE members. Mayors had to work with people. It was far from ideal but better than what we have now.
Mayoral control started in 2002. The mayor has a majority of the votes on the Board of Education now called Panel for Educational Policy which is a rubber stamp body. The major justification for what is essentially mayoral dictatorship is that high school graduation rates have gone up since the mayor took over. This cannot be disputed however the method for increasing graduation rates has been to basically scare teachers in many schools into passing kids who don't deserve to pass while also creating easy credit recovery programs for students who fail classes. There is no evidence that I have seen to show that pupils are getting to college more prepared than they were back in 2002.
Is a suspect graduation rate worth all of the negatives that have come with mayoral control? What I see is higher class sizes, depleted school budgets, overemphasis on testing, the destruction of so many neighborhood schools, Absent Teacher Reserves shuffled throughout their boroughs, out of control patronage hiring, no bid contracts, a constantly reshuffled bureaucracy, lawyers, lawyers and more lawyers, scripted curriculum, one crazy teacher evaluation system after another and more.
Maybe I am just a jaded teacher.
Has anyone seen any improvement in the schools under mayoral control?