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Lawmakers Decide Who Controls City Schools

Friday, February 06, 2009

A second hearing on whether to renew a state law giving the mayor control of the city's schools drew another huge crowd.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told assembly members that the current system led to a rise in test scores and more equity throughout the system. But assembly members seemed skeptical, especially when he stated that parents already have several ways of being heard.

KLEIN: One, by expressing that which I hear all the time in community meetings and in other places. Two, by deciding when they cast their votes.

REPORTER: Meaning voting out the mayor... but Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell rejected that argument, especially given the incumbent mayor's wealth.

O'DONNELL: For $100 million I could probably convince the city of New York that I was thin!

More than 70 people signed up to speak at the hearing, requiring the assembly to set aside an overflow room. While some held signs supporting mayoral control, most wanted at least some modifications ranging from an outside monitor to more community involvement.

For WNYC I'm Beth Fertig.

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