Mayor Bill de Blasio and other politicians yesterday held what amounted to a desperate rally with union supporters in defense of mayoral control of the New York City schools. De Blasio's main argument is that costs would rise if we go back to districts. He neglects to mention that central Department of Education administration spending has skyrocketed during his tenure as mayor with mayoral control. Some central savings could go a long way toward lowering costs. Just finding some lost money might help too.
The mayor and Chancellor Carmen Farina were surrounded by union supporters at their rally. Noticibly absent was UFT President Michael Mulgrew.
Mulgrew did make the following statement as reported by NY 1:
"Mayoral control should not be a matter for debate and doesn't need the UFT to defend it. We applaud the State Assembly for standing up for the city and its schools against the Senate’s attempt to politicize this issue."
UFT does not show up at the rally. That's good. However, the UFT is the one organization that could kill mayoral control but refuses to come out against it.
I think most of us who work in the schools (not our union's leadership) are hoping that the Republicans and their allies in the Independent Democratic Conference hang tough on inisiting on more charter schools in exchange for continuing mayoral control which would lead the Democrats in the Assembly to not make a deal because to their credit they don't want more charters.
If mayoral control ends and there are some real checks and balances in school governance, the winners will be the students and teachers in New York City schools. If there was real oversight from the borough presidents, who would control 5 of the seven seats on the Board of Education if mayoral control dies, integrity has a chance of being restored in our schools. I'm pulling for a stalemate in Albany.
As for the community school districts, don't fear them. The 1996 law on school governance curtailed the power of the local school boards. It seems only this blog is reporting this fact.
If I was the president of the UFT, I would ask the Executive Board and Delegate Assembly to empower the Union to expose the real corruption in the schools and urge our friends in the Assembly to let mayoral control expire for good.