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NYCLU Says Mayoral Control Decreases Transparency

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mayoral control has made the school system less transparent about its policies, according to a new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Donna Lieberman, the group's executive director, says one example is the free reign City Hall has given the NYPD in the Department of Education.

LIEBERMAN: The police department has 5,000 people in the schools, yet the DOE has no say over what they do, state ed has no say over what they do. These people shape the culture of so many schools.

Lieberman says students and parents complain about aggressive police actions, such as handcuffing a five-year-old who threw a temper tantrum at his Queens elementary school last year. The NYCLU is calling on lawmakers to increase public oversight of the schools, and appoint an inspector general. The law granting the mayor control of the schools expires in late June. The Department of Education declined to comment on the NYCLU report, but the Bloomberg administration has argued that mayoral control has led to improvements including higher test scores and safer schools.

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