Control Issues

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This June the state legislature will decide whether to renew the 2002 law that gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg control of the city’s schools. Supporters and critics of the law are each mounting fierce campaigns. WNYC Senior Reporter Beth Fertig took a look at one controversial group that supports reauthorization of the law.

New York State Assembly Hearing Schedule

Beth Fertig's story on mayoral control.


Beth Fertig

Comments [22]

mc from Brooklyn

Too bad you didn't read the rest of the post. Looks like you treated Beth Fertig's report the same way. Your loss as far as I'm concerned.

Mar. 19 2009 09:53 PM
James from bronx


from your post tying in race and special needs
"As far as racial overtones go, mayoral control has been disastrous for many families with children who have special needs. "... just responding to what was written

Mar. 19 2009 08:08 PM
mc from Brooklyn

By the way, James, I have spent time in what is probalby very close to your district. It also happens to be one of the poorest Congressional districts in the US.

Don't assume you know what other people are thinking.

Mar. 19 2009 05:38 PM
mc from Brooklyn

James and Neeta:
I don't hear that in Beth Fertig's reporting. I hear her being very careful NOT to do that. I think you are both hearing what you want to hear.

Neeta, Canada may not be making a pile of money from his project, but his charter school project seems, in his mind at least, to be dependent on mayoral control. If his project goes down the tubes he might see it as a loss to himself.

James, that is a ridiculous charge. No one said that special needs are necessarily Black or Hispanic, least of all me. Re-read the post. What I said is that it goes very hard for people who do not speak English as a first language and immigrant communities of color. Bloomburg and his counterpart Joel Klein have made it very difficult to navigate the special ed system. It is even harder if you have other disadvantages. Now.... is that too hard to swallow?

Mar. 19 2009 05:35 PM
James from bronx

MC of course black and hispanic children are the ones that have special needs! Amazing to read that here! I am a teacher in the Bronx, and before people claim to know what is best for black and Hispanic kids, please come spend an afternoon talking to our parents or teachers. This story implied that our communities could not possibly support mayoral control because it is good our our kids. We must have been tricked by the white man handing out posters into signing up for a ill-intentioned cause. Beth Fertig admits she has no evidence, but she laid thick the preponderance of suspicion. Why just look at the posts here--an otherwise educated audience.

Mar. 19 2009 03:32 PM
Neeta from bronx

MC--just curious how you think Canada profits from it? He runs a non-profit. He basically has devoted his life to helping disadvantaged families in Harlem for a fraction of the compensation he could be making otherwise.

Anyways, my point is that while Beth said there was no evidence to support the accusations, the entire story placed a cloud of suspicion over the group. And the story defined the group as a coalition of people of color. I understand white people are involved in the organization, but Beth defined it that way.

Mar. 19 2009 03:24 PM
mc from Brooklyn

As far as racial overtones go, mayoral control has been disastrous for many families with children who have special needs. It tends go very hard on the ones who don't speak English as a first language, or who happen to be of immigrant communities of color. I am more worried about them than about Canada. He clearly can take care of himself.

Mar. 19 2009 01:27 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I'm sorry Neeta but I think that Beth Fertig was very careful to say that there is no direct evidence of anything nefarious going on. Just because she reported the two things happening, support by Canada and the fact that he was at a rally supporting extending term limits does not mean that she reports that one is because of the other. I submit that you filled in those blanks yourself, as no doubt others will.

My suspicion is that Canada profits from mayoral control. There is nothing wrong with that. It is just good to know if you are evaluating someone's credibility to know if there might be a connection.

Mar. 19 2009 01:25 PM
Neeta from manhattan

MC. this is my point. This story was full of reporting allegations and insinuating that something illegal or unethical was going on. I don't care what you think of bloomberg or what your position on mayoral control is.
What I want to know is if there is not evidence that any wrong doing has gone on, why, when people of color organize do we discredit them. Geofrrey Canada, is as squeaky clean as they come, Beth Fertig admits this, but only after she insinuates a case against him. What you come away from that story thinking is, "hmmmm, those people of color raised a lot of money to support this cause, and while there is no evidence to prove that there was any wrong doing, something fishy must certainly be going on...."I am pretty sure no one would question the motives of white middle class parents (myself included), and I am pretty sure if someone ran a story like this suggesting over and over again that something illicit was going on, lawyers would be on the phone to Brian.

Mar. 19 2009 12:56 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Ellen #9, Theresa #10.
Spot on, both of you.

Neeta: ACORN seems to be on the other side of this divide from the "people of color" that you mention. Is ACORN a racist organization?

Astro-turf is fake grassroots. No one actually stated that this is what's happening, only suggested that it might be happening. What is wrong with a closer look at it?

Mar. 19 2009 12:36 PM
Ellen from Brooklyn


Sorry you feel that way. But when I saw Learn NY show up at a hearing on mayoral control, it was a white man who handed them all the signs they carried.

Mar. 19 2009 12:16 PM
Neeta from manhattan

Ummm. This story was absurd. First, it was only about allegations. There was not one shred of evidence that bloomberg in any way financially supports this group.
What is offensive about this (Brian I hope you are reading this) is that when a bunch of people of color get together to do something, all of a sudden it is "astro turf" organizing, even though there is not one shred of evidence that anything nefarious has gone on. WOW--no journalistic standards, but plenty of soft racism. If people whose who believe their kids educational opportunities got better with mayoral control are poor, well then obviously they don't know what they are talking about and surely they have some ulterior motive for taking a stand.
Why don't you cover the motives (everyone has one) of the unions and education establishment who have the opposite position.

This story was truly unbelievable.

Mar. 19 2009 11:51 AM
Theresa from Brooklyn

I wish someone would make a cogent explanation of why the teachers' union is always the enemy in these discussions. My parents spent sixty years between then teaching other people's children. They were dedicated, loving and resourceful people, who were basically disgracefully compensated for their considerable trouble, and never complained. Teaching is a not a cakewalk-- it is a consuming profession that requires dedication. It invites exploitation that its practitioners are all-too-vulnerable to, precisely because they were dedicated and conscientious. Scratch every work rule, and you will find a flagrant abuse that the union had to fight.

Mar. 19 2009 11:50 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

Hey, Brian, you repeat the argument without question that mayoral control equals accountability, unlike the school board system that came before. That's a myth that is repeated over and over until everyone believes it. But in fact, there is less accountability from this system than ever. Everyone's accountable to the mayor and chancellor, but the mayor and chancellor are accountable to exactly no one. Not the state, not the city, and not the parents whose kids they have so much power over. When they commit such incredibly destructive acts as reorganizing the system six times (Klein calls it "creative chaos") or cutting the bus routes in winter, who can hold them accountable? All we can do is vote the mayor out of office, once every four years. Four years is an eternity in the life of a child! Whose education, meanwhile, is distorted forever.

So, no, there is no accountability here, and while we don't want to go back, we do want to go forward and end mayoral control in favor of a partnership that allows parents to have a real role in their children's education. Check out the recomendations of the Parent Commission on School Governance and Mayoral Control at www.

Mar. 19 2009 11:47 AM
Bob from Pelham

Regarding undisclosed connections, many marchers in the St. Patrick's Day parade waved professionally-produced tri-color "Irish for Bloomberg" placards, despite the longstanding ban on political banners other than "England get out of Ireland" (remember, e.g., Christine Quinn and other Irish-descent pols banned from marching with the ILGO banner?) Did undisclosed Bloomberg donations grease the way for these signs? There were no "Irish for Term Limits" signs.

Mar. 19 2009 11:46 AM
mc from Brooklyn

The school system should not be a complete hostage to an elected politician. Elected officials will always consider their own political future more than they will consider the future of the school system. Schools should have some autonomy with mayoral input.

Mar. 19 2009 11:45 AM
david from brooklyn

We need to keep the SSA (school safety agents) accountable(for the kids well being), no matter who's in charge.

Mar. 19 2009 11:45 AM
mc from Brooklyn

More no-bid contract trouble: Special ed services contracted out to private entities who are not accountable to the parents or, least of all, the kids they are supposed to be servicing.

Mar. 19 2009 11:42 AM
Kathleen from NYC

The mayor has a history of using the power of his personal purse (as well as public funding) to get groups to support his views. Several years ago when there was some public balking at another of the mayor's edicts, MB gathered a group of 100 education/CBO groups to rally round. Of course they were all recipients of his largesse and the pressure had been applied.

Have he and Joel Klein really improved outcomes for kids in NYCPS? Why doesn't anyone pay any attention to what Diane Ravitch has to say?

Mar. 19 2009 11:41 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Who needs threats? If someone is profiting from the system, of course he/she will support it.

Mar. 19 2009 11:40 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Where is the accountability on no-bid contracts? One of the most irritating recent ones is the school luch system of using a machine to debit and credit kids' accounts for lunch. My kid's account was screwed up for almost the entire school year and the vender simply said it was not their problem.

Mar. 19 2009 11:39 AM
Leo from Queens

I really find this to be INFURIATING. Mr. Bloomberg has been using his billions to buy off many non-profit organizations by giving them donations or by threating these organizations that they will not get City funding unless they go and campaign for the mayor's initiative.

At this point it is a waste of taxpayer's money for us to have a primary election and a final election this November. The election has been bought.

We need an independent education board consisting of Educators to provide input on education policy and to oversee or audit education policy. The mayor doesn't have to follow it, but at least it will be an independent entity that would provide an independent assessment of the Education dept. Right now there is really no transparency as to what is being done is correct or not. The sad thing is that these kids that have gone through the the 'training' process in our schools cannot go back and redo their school years.

Mar. 19 2009 11:38 AM

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