Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Year : 1, Issue : 19
As state lawmakers reconvene for a new legislative session, one of the tasks they’ll face is reviewing school governance at New York City public schools. Now, in what’s known as “mayoral control,” the mayor and his handpicked chancellor control the public schools. That has been renewed multiple times since it was first passed in 2002, viewed by proponents as a way to effectively run the nation’s largest school district.
But support for the status quo is facing increased challenges, as frustrated teachers and parents at a series of public hearings have questioned its effectiveness and demanded a more representative structure, including more checks and balances on the mayor through school boards or other elected officials.
If not extended, mayoral control would expire at the end of June.
“I want the same thing that my former mayors had,” Mayor Eric Adams told reporters last Tuesday at City Hall. “We have a public school mayor and a public
school chancellor. We understand the importance of a quality education, and both of us had two different experiences. So I would like the same thing they had. They were allowed to turn around the school system.”
“We sense a real productivity in the Department of Education, everything from giving our children quality food to what we’ve done with Summer Rising to the test scores outpacing the state. So we’re seeing some real W’s. I think give us the opportunity to continue, like we gave to other mayors.”
Last time mayoral control was renewed, in 2022, Adams was granted power over the school system for two years — with some caveats.
The Panel for Educational Policy, the city’s school board with most members appointed by the mayor, was expanded to include more parent representatives. State education officials were tasked with hearing from the public, as well as issuing a report on the last two decades of mayoral control and other public school systems, such as Chicago’s, that are phasing it out.
The study is expected by the end of March and may push an agreement in Albany until after state budget negotiations.
“I suspect that we in the Legislature,” said state Sen. John Liu, D-Queens, chairman of the New York City Education Committee, “and perhaps the governor as well, will take a serious look at that study. And that study would and should inform our decision-making as to how New York City public schools should be run in the coming years.”
Source: New York Daily News