Tuesday, April 25, 2017


According to the NY Post, Senate Republican leader John Flanagan is threatening to end mayoral control of New York schools if the State Legislature and Governor do not agree to lift the charter school cap in NYC. Our answer to Flanagan for our friends in the State Assembly and our new friend the Governor should be very simple.

Tell them all: 

Go ahead make our day.

The UFT cannot be afraid if the school system reverts to the 1996 school governance law with elected school boards that do not have authority to hire superintendents. That is what would happen if the state law on NYC school governance expires at the end of June as it is scheduled to do.

The powerful school boards that many people fear would not return. UFT President Michael Mulgrew has reported at the Executive Board last night and last week at the Delegate Assembly about corrupt school boards of the past. Mulgrew seems to be implying they would come back if the Legislature does nothing. They would not return. The 1996 law basically took care of the issue as the Chancellor was given overseeing power over the boards.

This Gotham Gazette piece from 2001 explains the 1996 law, which was the law in effect when mayoral control was passed into law in 2002. This 1996 statutue would be the law we revert to if the State Legislature does nothing on NYC school governance this legislative session. The pre-1996 law would not come back if mayoral control is allowed to sunset in June.*

From the Gazette article:


In the last election, which was held last year, voters may have stayed away from polls because the community boards have so little power. Under the prodding of then-Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, the New York State Legislature in 1996 redefined the responsibilities of local school boards, taking away much of their power, including the authority to name a the district superintendent.

Today, school boards no longer manage day-to-day affairs within the district or hire or promote school district employees, including principals. Instead, the local school boards set educational policy, mostly just by helping to select a superintendent for the school district. Even here they don't have the final say; the chancellor does.

As for the Board of Education, if we go back to the 1996 law, the mayor would only have two representatives on the seven member Board of Education. The five borough presidents would each have a representative on the Board of Ed.

Let's tell Senator Flanagan we are not afraid of the 1996 law.We're not worried about the Legislature doing nothing.

*This blog is not giving an opinion on the pre-1996 school boards here. This posting is just explaining what would happen if the Legislature does nothing in June.


NYC Educator said...

I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

End Mayoral Control Now!!!

Anonymous said...

I second or am I thirding.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if "crime has never been lower" is as legit as "Grad rates have never been higher."

Anonymous said...

All the statistics being used are skewed - deBlasio learned from the best - Bloomberg! Bloomy actually changed the population of schools to nosedive the statistics in order to close the schools. Then the new schools handpicked their population with skyrocketing statistics. DeBlasio is changing the definition of terms, leaving questions out of surveys and stopping any situations that may result in lowering stats. Police chiefs and captains are trapped by stats just like principals.

James Eterno said...

Please read my brother John Eterno's work on crime Stat manipulation. John is a professor at Molloy College who is a retired NYPD captain.NYPD=DOE on bs numbers.

Harris L. said...

James...can you articulate what, in your opinion, will be the benefits of reverting to th '96 structure? I understand what will be ended by going back but I'm less knowledgeable about what, specifically, people think will be gained--particularly in the power relationships and work conditions in individual schools. Or the power and policies of the UFT?

James Eterno said...

Very simply, four borough presidents sticking together can override the mayor. That is a powerful check. The mayor must keep at least two borough presidents representatives happy to control Board of Ed. We have new people to appeal to. There is a real check on the mayor's power. That is usually a positive outcome for stakeholders.

I am usually for more democracy and checks and balances. Ask anyone who worked under that system if it was not better than the current one. It certainly was not perfect but better than what we have now.

Harris L. said...

Thanks, James. I don't know much about the former governance model beyond what I read in the papers 20 years ago.