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Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Deal. Now We Stop "Them".

Remember that the reporters who wrote the articles below are paid by the friends and colleagues of Mike Bloomberg and Joel Klein. In my opinion, this is publicity, not reporting.

I'll just say "hello" to Carl Campanile, the most unprofessional reporter that I know! Hi Carl!

Betsy Combier


It's a deal: Mayor Bloomberg stays King of the Schools!

Bloomberg and Democratic leaders in the state Senate yesterday announced an agreement to extend City Hall's authority to run the city school system through 2015.



The pact follows weeks of political stalemate, mudslinging and nasty name calling.

Under the agreement, the Senate will pass legislation before the start of the school year that has already been approved by the state Assembly preserving mayoral control, with some additional oversight.

Bloomberg also agreed to four minor amendments to the Assembly bill sought by Democratic senators:

* Creating a parent training center run by CUNY.

* Setting up an arts advisory panel.

* Clarifying the role of superintendents in evaluating principals in their district.

* Requiring schools to hold meetings on school safety.

As a sign of good faith, the mayor and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will move immediately to implement the changes on their own even before they are written into law, a City Hall insider said.

Senators are expected to return to Albany early next month -- before the new school year starts -- to ratify the deal.

"The agreement announced by the Senate Democratic leadership today enables progress in our schools to continue," Bloomberg said.

"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.

"At the same time," Bloomberg added, "the agreement addresses concerns that have been raised by legislators in a way that makes sense."

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten said the deal "will preserve the stability and resources" of the school system.

Gov. Paterson said he planned to sign the legislation once it is passed and commended "the parties for coming together to put the education of our children ahead of politics."

Senators insisted the deal was worth the wait.

"We have an agreement with respect to school governance, empowering our parents, our superintendents," Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (Brooklyn) said following a testy meeting of the Democratic senators at 250 Broadway.

Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens), a chief negotiator on school governance, held out for training centers for parents.

"I do feel we achieved some things," she said.

Senators often defended their decision to stall action in the name of parents, saying the city was hindering -- rather than encouraging their involvement -- in schools.

They complained that the parent community education councils had only token input in school affairs.

Bloomberg defended his record by saying he created the position of parent coordinators in each school to help parents and students. But he said principals and teachers -- not parents -- should run the schools.

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) -- the turncoat who precipitated the leadership crisis in the Senate by defecting to the GOP and then returning to the Democrats -- said, "This is a great moment for us."

Not everyone was pleased.

Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan),(pictured at right) a frequent Bloomberg critic, pushed hard for inclusion of a state commission to issue a report on school safety.

SCHOOL'S OUT: Sen. Bill Perkins gives the thumbs up yesterday after the deal to extend mayoral control, but his push for a school safety report was defeated.
But it wasn't part of the of the deal and Perkins declined to discuss the matter following the meeting.

The agreement is a startling turnaround from just days ago, when Bloomberg blasted state senators by name for leaving Albany without extending mayoral control.

The senators then held two press conferences on the steps of City Hall slamming the mayor as a whiny billionaire who tries to bully people when he doesn't get his way.

Bloomberg and the borough presidents were forced to reconstitute the old, seven-member Board of Education on July 1 after the Senate let the 2002 mayoral-control law lapse.

Hoping for the Senate to finally act, the hastily constituted board temporarily preserved City Hall's grip on the schools by rehiring Klein as chancellor and preserving his authority to manage the schools.

Once the Senate acts, the board will be dissolved and the Panel for Education Policy, controlled by Hizzoner's appointees, will return.

Additional reporting by Brendan Scott in Albany

By TOM CARROLL, July 25, 2009 --

IN the end, Mayor Bloomberg got what he wanted.

He remains firmly in control of the city's schools, retains the right to control key decisions, and holds on to the authority to keep Joel Klein as his chancellor.

The bill already approved by the state Assembly will be passed by the Senate before the start of the school year, under the deal announced yesterday. And the additional changes desired by Senate Democrats will be contained in a series of separately passed amendments.

Pursuant to the amendments, parent-training centers will be established, under the auspices of the City University. An arts advisory council will be established, and each school will have a safety committee.

District superintendents will have an enhanced ability to review principals.

Most of this is harmless enough.

Dropped from the proposal were fixed terms for the mayor's appointees to the city Panel for Education Policy.

And, importantly, Bloomberg retained the authority to appoint a majority of the panel's members (eight of 13), which effectively also gives the mayor the authority to appoint the board's chairperson.

For Bloomberg, who has staked his mayoralty on his stewardship of public schools, the final deal was a huge win.

During his tenure, principals have been given greater autonomy over the schools they operate, teacher salaries have risen, the threshold for opting out of the union contract's myriad provisions has been loosened, a transparent system for grading schools has been implemented, sophisticated student tracking data systems put in place, and more resources dedicated to leadership training. As a result, state test scores on math and English have started to rise.

Importantly, the billionaire mayor -- who can't be bought -- has driven politics, cronyism and corruption out of community school districts -- no small accomplishment given the history of the districts.

The plain-spoken chancellor also has brought a welcome measure of honest talk about the school system's remaining weaknesses.

For charter school advocates, Bloomberg and Klein have been stalwart allies. The Bloomberg administration has made the expansion of charter schools a top priority, granting charters access to school facility space and the city's capital plan as well as providing initial authorization to dozens of charter schools.

Klein also has encouraged some of the highest-quality nonprofit charter networks to expand the number of schools they open and children they serve here.

Although Bloomberg has generated a fair amount of controversy within the city on school issues, the school system is viewed across the nation as a model for change. Reforming large urban districts is not easy work, and no district is larger and more unwieldy than the New York City district.

Without mayoral control, none of the progress that has been made would have been possible.(emphasis added - Editor)

One of the keys to reforming a large bureaucracy is sustained, consistent effort. Leaders of urban districts typically get chewed up and spit out every two or three years, because it is not easy to challenge the status quo without offending lots of people.

That a mayor and a chancellor -- with a common vision -- have been able to pursue a consistent reform agenda over eight years in the nation's largest school district is nothing short of remarkable.

With the extension of mayoral control, this partnership hopefully will continue to the benefit of the 1.1 million students enrolled in New York City's public schools.

Thomas W. Carroll is president of the Foundation for Education Reform & Ac countability.


bbetsy wrote:
Mr. Carroll, it seems that your opinion is based on....what?? Perhaps the payment you may have received to write your ridiculous article above, titled "It's definitely a Grade A move", or some kind of inside information? I have four children, all of whom attend or have attended public schools in NYC, and I can, and do, write and speak about the Bloomberg/Klein disaster. I am also an advocate for children, parents, and teachers, and a witness to the end of due process, the denial of access to service providers and FAPE by children with special needs, the school to prison pipeline for minority children in the poorest districts, grade inflation and lying, cheating and stealing by Principals and Superintendents in collaboration with Assembly members, politicians and people who write articles for the daily newspapers at the request of the Bloomberg staff. Just because I am curious, please give us the basis for your opinion? We think that you are misled and misinformed.
Betsy Combier
7/26/2009 10:23 AM EDT

Mr. A. Talk wrote:
This city has become a test prep mill under the Bloomklein administration. The tests have been dumbed down and the mayor takes the credit for "higher" scores. In the meantime, the city's scores on the national NEAP test have not budged, and SAT scores of all those graduates have likewise stalled. Qualified teachers languish in rubber rooms and excessed educators can't get a job because this mayor doesn't value experience. This costs the city 40 million a year. This mayor is a failure and a power monger. Tell us, Mr. Carroll, are you an educator? Do your children go to school in NYC? If not, what is your stake in this?
7/25/2009 5:05 PM EDT

NYPOST Editorial, July 25, 2009 --

New York's schoolkids won yesterday. Big-time.

The deal Mayor Bloomberg and Senate Democrats announced will extend mayoral control of city schools for six more years, helping to preserve the gains Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein have already made.

We couldn't be happier.

After all, as readers well know, mayoral control has long been a signature issue for this paper.

From the start, we've understood that high-quality public education is possible only when the system is run by someone with sufficient power to make decisions.

Someone who is answerable to voters.

Moreover, we've been impressed by the progress Bloomberg and Klein have made thus far.

As The Post campaign gathered steam, other voices from around the city followed suit. Teachers union chief Randi Weingarten deserves enormous credit for helping push the deal through.

But it hasn't been smooth sailing, to put it mildly. Indeed, the fate of the schools has been in limbo for nearly a month, ever since the '02 law giving control to City Hall expired amid Senate gridlock.

Senators then went home for the summer, ignoring a mayoral-control bill that had already passed the Assembly.

As it is, New Yorkers won't be able to rest until the bill is signed by Gov. Paterson; in Albany, any thing can happen.

To get the deal, Bloomberg had to agree to a few minor amendments, but nothing that seems to undercut his right to run the system. Good for him.

As for the troublesome senators, make no mistake: It was never about the kids.

Those who opposed mayoral control the loudest did so for but one reason: to serve their own personal interests and flex their muscles. Shame on them.

But now, barring any surprises, Bloomberg, Klein & Co. are free to continue their work. This is very good news.


hmmm...I think your bias is showing too much. Why not simply come out of the closet and say that you work for Mayor Bloomberg and his press office?

Betsy Combier
7/26/2009 1:19 PM EDT

Grandpa wrote:
Now if they can only get the other 40% to stay in school and graduate........
7/25/2009 9:36 AM EDT

Dinerboy wrote:
A REAL victory would be more charter schools, a voucher system, or some other form of school choice. Monopolies tend to be lousy at what they do, and our monopolistic school system will always be a pale shadow of what it could be were there real competition and accountability in place.
7/25/2009 9:11 AM EDT

srr wrote:
Condemned to servitude Mayor Control Freak and Sockpuppet Klein's test taking gulags is hardly a victory for kids.

However it is a big victory for Mayor Control Freak's re election bid.
7/25/2009 7:54 AM EDT

srr wrote:
Exactly how do the kids win with Mayor Control Freak dominating their educational lives? Mayor Control Freak doesn't care if your tykes learn anything--he just wants results that favor him so he could prove he's actually doing something positive for education so he can get re-elected.

So Albany wimped out again. Gee what a surprise.

It's nice to know things are back to normal.
7/25/2009 6:48 AM EDT

Comments sent to City Room

Such news is a big yawn to anxious financially strapped parents hoping once their children are admitted to a good private school they have the means to pay the freight.
2. August 11, 2009 3:26 pm Link

We put 2 people in charge of our schools that
together they do not have even 1 day of experience
teaching a class. This is a shame. These 2 men
are arrogant dictators handing our U-ratings left and
right. They have shown that they will not hesitate a
second to abuse the powers given to them.
This is a sad day for NYC teachers.
NYC teachers need people to back them up in the
classroom. Not pull off dirty tricks to undermine
their ability to teach.
— dal
3. August 11, 2009 3:38 pm Link


Governor Paterson did not renew Mayoral Control this morning. His action to “sign” the “bill” passed by the legislature was indeed unconstitutional. No Mayoral Control law has been renewed or enacted as a result. The Senate voted on August 6, 2009 to renew Mayoral Control with amendments. The renewal included a “retroactive” clause to June 30, 2009 since the 2002 law had expired on that date. Even if the amendments were to be voted on separately by the Assembly the inclusion of that “retroactive” clause required a “reconciliation” by the Assembly since the two bill’s were no longer identical. Yet, the amendments were indeed inseparable from the bill “signed” this morning by Governor Paterson. Paterson did not uphold his oath of office to faithfully uphold, follow and execute The New York State Constitution. Having “signed” the document in secret, behind closed doors without any public announcement, is indicative of this unlawful and unconstitutional action.

August 12, 2009

Nicola A. DeMarco, JD
The Coalition for Public Education
— Nicola DeMarco
4. August 11, 2009 10:29 pm Link

Six years ago, George Bush signed the “No Child Left Behind” education bill. A compromise between the Bush administration and congressional Democrats like Sen. Edward Kennedy, the bill claimed to attempt to abolish the academic achievement gap between the poor and the middle class, and between African American, Latino and white students. “We are going to win the war overseas,” Bush told a crowd after signing the bill, “and need to win the war against illiteracy at home, as well.”

Today, the U.S. government has spent over $500 billion on a criminal war against the Iraqi people, while the education system is failing. Public schools are being privatized to reap greater profits for owners.

The National Assessment of Education Progress—a body that administers standardized tests to evaluate the country’s progress in education—recently said that the NCLB law has hurt education standards. Reading proficiency for eighth-grade African American students has dropped from 13 to 12 percent. Proficiency dropped from 41 to 39 percent for eighth-grade white students.

Prospects are not much brighter for students who make it to college. In 2007, Congress cut student loan subsidies, as tuition rates continued to skyrocket. Necessary affirmative action programs are under severe attack.

These abysmal results are no surprise to socialists. Under capitalism, quality education for working-class students is not a priority. Education funding is constantly being slashed to fund imperialist war overseas.

While Democratic and Republican candidates pay lip service to education reform, the quality of education for working-class students will continue to deteriorate as long as we live under a system that prioritizes profits over people. The Frances Villar for Mayor (PSL) 2009 campaign calls for free, high quality education for all from pre-school through college.
— Frances Villar
5. August 12, 2009 10:06 am Link

I had such high hopes that mayoral control would end. During Bloomberg and Klein’s tenure, our educational system has become yet another corporate enterprise in which manipulated numbers are the only things that count. They have done what others were unable to do so efficiently: how to take public money and redistribute it into private hands. The end product consists of children who are increasingly proficient in testing and little else. These children have little or no exposure to the arts or real critical thinking. School,have very little to do with their communities anymore. Vocational training is at an all-time low.

With principals earning 5-figured merit pay bonuses, testing is all that counts now. Teachers have very little input and are generally demoralized. Parents are virtually shut out of any real decision making.

I’m sure that Bloomberg and Klein want good things for our children, but to expect educational novices to “reform” education by dismantling “failing” schools and creating legions of new “small” schools led by inexperienced “educators” run by corporate Instructional Support Organizations receiving contracts to run our schools is not the way to go.

In what other field can an amateur without accreditation run an agency? Do we see senior law partners with no law degree? Do we see chief residents of hospitals without medical degrees? Only in education can someone come in with no credentials and run the largest system in the country.
— Samuel Noel