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State Assembly Holds Final Hearing on Mayoral Control of Schools

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hundreds of parents and community leaders turned out for the last state Assembly hearing about mayoral control over city schools. The law that gives Mayor Bloomberg control is up for renewal in June. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Patricia Connelly, of a group called the Parent Commission, told lawmakers the Department of Education routinely makes decisions about opening and closing schools without community involvement.

CONNELLY: The parent commission rejects the condescending autocracy that currently masquerades as parent engagement.

REPORTER: Connelly's group called for a partnership with the mayor, by diluting his power over an existing panel on education policy. But Reverend David Brawley of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church said parents could have a bigger role with an independent advocacy and resource center, instead.

BRAWLEY: Don't be fooled. Opponents of mayoral control do not want to improve it but they want to regain lost power, patronage and positions.

REPORTER: Brawley was joined by scores of parents from East Brooklyn Congregations, who say they have more choices than they did before the mayor took charge, because of small schools and charter schools.

For WNYC, I'm Beth Fertig.

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