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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Deal Reached On Mayoral Control - Only, Parents and Teachers Wont Go Along

Evidently Senators caved in to Bloomberg and gave away the rights of parents and teachers to say anything about the New York City Public Schools.

We are not going to agree. What we want:

We are a group of parents and teachers in New York City (incl. All boroughs, long island, and neighboring states where some teachers live) who are mobilizing behind the following:

1. no Mayoral Control of the New York City public schools in any form;

2. Removal/involuntary resignation of all members of the “new” Board of Education;

3. immediate preparation with public funds for elections of a citywide school board for the district of New York and in ALL districts of all school board members, in compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act;

4. legislation returning powers over hiring/firing Principals to the district school boards;

5. hiring district board auditors, attorneys and federal monitors for each district office to establish accountability and pursue due process violations for any constituent in a public school, and any claims of theft or fraud;

6. an immediate end to Parent Coordinators in favor of District Advocates in every district office who will be accountable to the people who live in that district by submitting public logs of each person’s monthly activities, exchanges of money, contracts, etc. This position could be elected, but nonetheless the person who holds the position must be accountable to the public in that district;

7. an end to the Community Education Councils, appointed school board members, and a chancellor who does not have any experience in the New York City public school system;

8. a coordinated campaign against the re-election of any member of the Assembly, Senate, City Council, Public Advocate or Borough President’s office who has put selfish private interests for a third term, eminent domain, patronage, fraud, or other activity above the pursuit and support of integrity, honest services and any action that promotes public trust, safety, and welfare.

Betsy Combier
Co-Founder, Coalition For District Elections
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Sponsor, Citizens’ Forum For Judicial Accountability
Secretary, International Whistleblower Association

Hipolito Colon
Co-Founder, Coalition For District Elections

July 25, 2009
Senate Deal Keeps Mayor in Control of Schools

After weeks of delays, negotiating and name-calling, Democrats in the New York Senate reached a deal with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday to renew the law giving him control over city schools.

The deal appeared to be a victory for Mayor Bloomberg, who had repeatedly assailed the legislators blocking his agenda in Albany.

The legislation would leave the mayor’s power over the school system intact, while adding some new programs, like a parent training institute and an arts advisory council.

Under the agreement, district superintendents would have more school oversight and each school would be required to hold a meeting with parents to discuss school safety and the behavior of safety officers in the schools.

City officials said they expected the Senate to return to Albany to pass the bill in early August. Senate leaders were more elusive, saying only that they expected to return before the new school year begins in September.

The Legislature transferred management of the city’s schools from the Board of Education to the mayor in 2002, setting June 30, 2009, as the date his control would expire if it was not renewed. The Assembly did so last month.

But a power crisis in the Senate allowed mayoral control to expire, and then several powerful Democrats in the Senate demanded additions to the Assembly bill.

Once the Senate passes the bill, making it law, it will amend it to include the conditions agreed to on Friday. The Assembly would then have to pass the same amendments for them to take effect.

The changes are relatively minor and will do little to temper the mayor’s control. There were no provisions, for example, requiring that the schools chancellor have an education degree, and members of the Panel for Educational Policy, the school oversight board, were not given fixed terms, as Mr. Bloomberg’s harshest critics had sought.

The Department of Education and City Hall officials were careful not to gloat on Friday; they said the changes would not dramatically alter the way the system is run.

Perhaps the biggest change is a provision, already passed by the Assembly, requiring that the Panel for Educational Policy approve all no-bid contracts, as well as any contracts that exceed $1 million. The city will also be required to hold hearings before it shuts down underperforming schools.

The mayor issued a statement saying that the agreement “enables progress in our schools to continue.”

“It preserves the accountability and authority necessary to ensure that the gains we’ve made — in math and reading scores, graduation rates and school safety — continue,” he said.

The agreement will allocate about $3 million to the City University of New York for the next two years to create a parent training center in each of the five boroughs. Officials said there had been no discussions about who would lead the center or how it would work.

Billy Easton, the director of the Campaign for Better Schools, which had pushed for the center, said it would focus on training parents to make school-based leadership teams and community education councils more effective.

The deal came less than a week after Mr. Bloomberg railed against several senators, calling them “meshugeneh” (Yiddish for crazy); in response, Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem accused the mayor of “treating us like we’re some people on his plantation.”

But negotiations between the Senate and City Hall — led by John L. Sampson, the Democratic conference leader, and Deputy Mayor Dennis M. Walcott — continued throughout the week.

Even as final details were being ironed out, several senators gathered at the steps of City Hall on Thursday to criticize the mayor.

Senator Hiram Monserrate called him the “Bernie Madoff” of education and others insisted they would not be bullied into agreement.

Yet the most vociferous critics of Mr. Bloomberg were far more subdued on Friday. Several senators said that while they did not wholeheartedly agree with the deal, they understood that a deal had been reached.

Senator Monserrate, as he was leaving a meeting about the legislation on Friday, said, “The mayor can really be a mensch when he wants to be.”

Mayor to regain school control
Parents receive help in Senate agreement on New York City schools

By VALERIE BAUMAN, Associated Press, First published: Saturday, July 25, 2009

ALBANY -- State Senate Democrats reached a deal Friday to resolve how New York City schools are governed, renewing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's authority over the school system and ending weeks of bickering.

The deal Bloomberg's camp helped negotiate will create a $1.7 million training center for parents operated by the City University of New York to enable them to participate in the school system, said Bronx Democratic Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. He expects the Senate to return to Albany to vote on renewing the mayoral control law in the next two weeks.

The plan addresses one of the key concerns raised by critics of Bloomberg's control of the schools: Parental involvement.

Throughout the five boroughs, the CUNY-run training center will offer programs to help parents track student performance and learn how to improve the study environment at home. It will also conduct outreach and recruitment with the goal of having the staff diversity mirror the student body at various schools.

Parents and students will also have access to improved English-language learning programs.

The deal came after weeks of bickering between senators and Bloomberg.

Espada said Bloomberg was involved in negotiations and that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was open to taking up amendments to the school governance bill that the Assembly already passed. The deal allows for a review of principals and the quality of curriculum, and creates open public meetings with a focus on public safety in schools.

The 2002 law that gave the mayor authority over the city's schools, has been praised for improving the academic performance of the city's 1.1 million students.

The law expired at the end of June during a Senate power struggle eventually won by Democrats.

1 comment:

endmayoralcontrol said...

This is a very sad thing. Bloomberg is not a good person to be in charge of the schools.