A new bill introduced by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-New York, aims to end mayoral control of the city’s public school system with the creation of an independent NYC Board of Education.
“Mayoral control does not work,” said Sen. Montgomery, in a statement. “Control of our schools must be put back in the hands of educational professionals who have a deep understanding of our children’s needs—and the skills to produce positive educational outcomes.”
However, before mayoral control, the city’s school board wasn’t in great shape either: It was marred by political in-fighting, no standards of instruction and widespread corruption.
Says one Bed-Stuy Patch commenter: “We've had an ‘independent’ board of education before, and it was horrific!!!! Let the mayor continue to have control, and let the people vote for mayor based on whether the mayor has a solid education platform and let that mayor be 100% accountable for success and failures.”
Since Mayor Bloomberg has taken over control of the Department of Education, he has moved swiftly to appoint the school’s chancellor, enact more rigorous standards for school evaluations, fire do-nothing administrators, focus on pedagogy, increase staff accountability for test scores and replace schools with consistently low marks with charter schools which, according to the New York City Charter School Center, have been found to perform better than most.
However, critics of Bloomberg’s approach to education say that mayoral control has done little more than further politicize the school system by non-educators, effectively eroding the public’s trust (as evinced by the resounding failure of the Cathie Black appointment for chancellor).
Additionally, they claim that in Bloomberg’s great quest to increase the number of charter schools, he has squeezed out vital space and resources from existing public schools, thereby setting public schools up for failure. All the while, new studies are now showing that charter schools are not necessarily outperforming public schools as was claimed previously.
So, what do you think? Should the mayor have control of the city’s public school system, or should the department of education once again become an independent board run by a team of educational professionals.
Take our poll, and tell us what you think in the comments.