The Assembly has passed a less than adequate school governance bill that essentially keeps the Mayor in charge of the schools. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he is open to negotiations on some aspects of mayoral control since his bill still has not cleared the deadlocked state Senate. This could be our opening to have one final opportunity to kill the six year abomination that is mayoral control. Below is a letter we could use to email to senators to demonstrate that teachers are not happy with the current system. Feel free to edit.
Here is a link to the state senators.
Say NO to Mayoral Dictatorship of the Schools
Mayoral control has been a disaster for working NYC teachers. Most of our schools are overcrowded beyond capacity; class sizes are rising and made their biggest leap in ten years, despite a state mandate to lower them. Scores of schools have been closed, renamed, walled up, and converted into academies or charter schools.
A 2008 UFT survey revealed that 85% of NYC public school teachers believe that Chancellor Klein and the DOE have failed to provide them with resources and support they needed to succeed. Similarly 85% said that the chancellor’s emphasis on testing had failed to improve education in their schools.
The overemphasis of test scores has led to our schools becoming test prep factories, instead of places where real teaching and learning predominates. The test scores themselves are increasingly meaningless – the result, in many cases, of excessive preparation, rote learning, and even cheating.
Mayor Bloomberg has reneged on his promise to rid the city of its ubiquitous trailers by 2012, depriving acceptable facilities to yet another generation of children. Instead of honestly admitting pervasive school overcrowding, the mayor pretends it does not exist – cutting the budget for new school construction by 60%.
Hundreds of teachers sit in the absent teacher reserve, hoping that this reorganization, unlike the last one or the one before that, might finally give them a chance to go back to work. Hundreds more teachers sit in the rubber room, accused of some unnamed crime but never brought to trial.
Perhaps none of this is surprising – given the fact that there are only two educators out of the top twenty executives at
Tweed. They simply do not understand what teachers – and their students – need to succeed.
We are convinced that the current system of dictatorial one-man control has deprived us of adequate teaching conditions, and NYC children of the equitable conditions they need to learn.
Our legislators should take note and replace this governance system with a better one, in which no one person, however rich and powerful, can decide on his own how more than one million children should be educated, especially one who has never sent his own children to a public school.