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Mayoral Control

Schoolbook

Education Partisans Vow to Keep Fighting on Items Excluded From Budget Deal

Monday, March 30, 2015

The future of teacher evaluations, mayoral control of the city schools and the DREAM Act are still uncertain now that they're left out of the state budget.
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Schoolbook

Top 8 Items on New York's Education Agenda for 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio greatly expanded pre-kindergarten last year. In 2015, he faces tough negotiations with Albany over charter schools and renewing mayoral control of the schools.
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The Brian Lehrer Show

John Catsimatidis on Running for Mayor

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

John Catsimatidis, CEO of Gristedes Foods, talks about his now-official run for the Republican nomination for NYC Mayor.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

If Mayors Ruled The World

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Benjamin Barber, CUNY senior research scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, talks with Brian Lehrer about how cities are responding to global issues.

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WNYC News

Mayoral Control - The Deal is Done

Friday, July 24, 2009

It was a feud in which the mayor was accused or being a "dictator" and acting like he ran a "plantation." And Bloomberg called legislators' proposal for a parent training institute a "slush fund." But in the end, both sides got what they wanted.

Senate Democrats and the Bloomberg Administration finally struck a deal Friday afternoon on renewing mayoral control of the schools (or what some senators prefer to call "school governance").

The Senate will return to Albany in August and vote on the same bill the assembly passed in June. They'll also take up an amendment, which the Assembly will have to also approve at some later point. The amendment calls for:

1) A parent training center, with an annual budget of $1.6 million and run by the City University of New York.
2) An Arts Advisory Committee to make recommendations and an annual report on educational policies involving the arts.
3) Clarification of the role of local superintendents in reviewing principals.
4) Annual public meetings of each school's safety committee. The Senators had originally wanted a citywide committee that would study police in the schools. This agreement puts the focus on each individual school to do more to involve parents. Harlem Senator Bill Perkins said he still had concerns about this point, and hoped there would be more discussions.

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WNYC News

Comptroller Questions City's Graduation Rates

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg has made improving the city's public schools a central theme of his mayoralty and his bid for a third term. But one of his Democratic rivals, Comptroller Bill Thompson, is now questioning Bloomberg's track record.

The Comptroller's office released a withering audit of the city's graduation rates. The report sampled graduates from the class of 2007, in a way that was supposed to be statistically representative of the city. Thompson called the NYC Department of Education "the Enron of education, showing the gains and hiding the losses."

Out of 197 graduates, 36 took the same major subject classes two or more times and received credit for each passing grade. One student failed English 3, for example, but passed English 4 twice and received a credit for each course. Another received two credits for passing Global History 1 two times but this same student didn't take Global History 4.

The audit also found 19 graduates whose transcripts were incomplete. The Department of Education was eventually able to confirm that 17 of those students really did meet graduation requirements based on evidence from their schools. As for receiving credit despite taking the same class twice, the Department's response to the auditors said "what the Comptroller largely identified were repeated course codes, not repeats of the same class."

But Thompson said those answers didn't clear up one big concern:

"There are a number of questions as to what the real graduation rate is. And I don't think that, given the level of documentation with the Department of Education, given the level of documentation on the school level, I'm not sure exactly what the graduation rate is."

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WNYC News

'Los Cuatro Amigos'... The Four Friends?

Monday, July 20, 2009

[slideshow id=104]
With the issue of mayoral control of schools hanging in the balance, State Senators Ruben Diaz, Sr., Pedro Espada, Jr., Hiram Monserrate and Carl Kruger met for lunch to publicly discuss the amendments they want included in the controversial legislation. The group wants a parent training center ...

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WNYC News

The Board of Education Makes a Comeback

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The law that gave Mayor Bloomberg control of city schools expired at midnight. That means the Board of Education is back. Earlier this morning, the five borough presidents gathered at Gracie Mansion to determine their appointees; the mayor also makes two appointments. The newly reconstituted board's first meeting is expected ...

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Reveals (Some) Contingency Plans

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

With time running out for the Senate to renew the law giving him control of the schools, Mayor Bloomberg says he's reaching out to the five borough presidents in case the old board of education needs to be reconstituted.

Bloomberg joined a surreal press conference in Albany, via video feed, with Governor Paterson and legislative leaders.

He again urged all 62 Senators to come together and pass the same bill the Assembly already passed, reauthorizing mayoral control of the schools. He also urged voters to call their lawmakers to add some pressure. And he warned that if mayoral control expires "come tomorrow, the lawyers take over" because personnel and policy issues would all be subject to litigation and uncertainty.

But for the first time he also hinted at his backup plans.

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WNYC News

Math Scores Are Up, Raise Your Glass

Monday, June 01, 2009

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg at PS/MS 15 in the Bronx announcing rise in math scores. Almost 82 percent of city elementary and middle school students met the statewide standards in 2009, a gain of 7.5 points over last year.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg at PS/MS 15 in the Bronx announcing rise in math scores. Almost 82 percent of city elementary and middle school students met the statewide standards in 2009, a gain of 7.5 points over last year.

Mayor Bloomberg looked practically giddy as he announced that almost 82 percent of city students met or exceeded state standards on this year's math tests. This puts city children within shouting distance of their counterparts in the rest of the state. In the rest of the state, not counting the city, about 89 percent of students met the standards. The mayor also noted that the achievement gap had narrowed between both black and Hispanic students and their white counterparts.

But Bloomberg wasn't the only one smiling. As usual at these 'good news' announcements, the mayor was joined by the heads of the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators for a press conference at PS/MS 15 in the Bronx. As the mayor shared credit with the teachers and principals for the rising test scores under his watch, they bestowed a little love in return by making some of their strongest statements to date about their support for continuing mayoral control of the city schools. The 2002 state law that put Bloomberg in charge expires at the end of the month and lawmakers are debating whether to renew it. Most support continuing it with a few adjustments.

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WNYC News

"A Benevolent Dictatorship"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

school500Students from PS 33 in the Bronx attended the State Senate Education Committee's hearing on mayoral control of the schools, as part of their social studies class. The students didn't seem to know what the debate was about but seemed ...

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WNYC News

Comments On The DOE? Raise Your Hand!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

As the date nears for the state legislature to decide on renewing mayoral control over public schools, city leaders are putting in their two cents. City Comptroller William Thompson - a Democrat running for mayor - released a report today titled "Powerless Parents," accusing the DOE of leaving parents ...

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WNYC News

Mayor’s School Panel: An Advisor or Rubber Stamp?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Members of the Panel for Educational Policy, most of whom are appointed by the mayor.

Members of the Panel for Educational Policy, most of whom are appointed by the mayor.

Next month, Albany lawmakers have to decide whether to renew the law that put Mayor Michael Bloomberg in charge of the city’s public schools.

Legislators have spent much of this year holding hearings on the issue. Supporters of the mayor credit him with school improvement; but critics claim he’s abusing his authority. Much of the controversy has to do with an obscure panel that meets once a month. In the summer of 2002, Albany gave Mayor Bloomberg something previous mayors had only dreamed about: control over the nation’s largest school district. Finally, the mayor could appoint the Chancellor, not the Board of Education. He wouldn’t have to fight any more with board members who could reject his proposals. The board was replaced with a new Panel for Educational Policy, an advisory body. And most of its 13 members would be appointed by the mayor and answer directly to him.

Bloomberg was in great spirits that July when he announced the seven educators and business leaders he’d appointed to the panel.

'Let me remind you that unlike the past Board of Ed, these members are all volunteers. They do not get a salary. They do not get a car and driver. They don’t get all of those other perks (laughter). We didn’t tell you that?'

It was a light-hearted moment. But the mayor grew serious when a reporter asked him how much independence his panel members would be allowed to exercise.

'Their job is to give advice to the chancellor. Not advice to the press. I do not expect to see their names ever in the press answering a question either on the record or off the record. That’s exactly what’s wrong with the current system right now. And it’s not going to happen. It has not happened elsewheres in this system and I would not tolerate it for 30 seconds.'

The mayor was true to his word. In 2004, Bloomberg removed three panel members right before they could vote against his plan to stop promoting third graders who scored poorly on state exams.

Since then, education groups and parents routinely refer to the panel as a rubber stamp for the mayor. But one former legislator who co-wrote the law putting Bloomberg in charge of the schools says that wasn’t its intention.

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WNYC News

Mayoral Control - Two Lawmakers Weigh In

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When the New York Civil Liberties Union invited reporters to hear its ideas for reforming mayoral control of the schools today, it also invited two legislators with their own strong opinions.

State Senator Bill Perkins, who represents Harlem and other parts of Manhattan, and Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman, both support the NYCLU's goal of making the school system more transparent. The NYCLU officially takes no position on whether to renew mayoral control. But it's says the current system is "absolute" and "unfettered." It cites the reluctance by the Department of Education and NYPD to disclose information on student arrests, suspensions and expulsions. There have also been incidents in which principals don't feel like they're fully in charge of their buildings, because of the NYPD's responsibility for school safety. The report is available here.

While the NYCLU wouldn't say whether it thinks the current system of mayoral control should be diluted, the two lawmakers did share their thoughts.

State Senator Perkins is one of a handful of lawmakers who want end the mayor's control of the Panel for Educational Policy. Bloomberg currently gets to appoint eight of the 13 members, including the chancellor - who chairs the body. The five others are appointed by the borough president. In 2004, the mayor fired three panel members because they were about to vote against his plan to stop promoting third graders who got low scores on their state math and reading tests.

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WNYC News

Poll Finds New Yorkers Split on Mayor's Impact on Schools

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The new Marist Poll breaks down New Yorkers' opinions on the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been handling the public school system, and both supporters and opponents of Bloomberg can find plenty of ammunition.

Overall, 51 percent of registered voters approve of the way Bloomberg is running the schools compared to 41 percent who don't, and 8 percent who are unsure. Republicans are more inclined to support the mayor's handling of the schools than Democrats (53 percent to 47 percent). Queens voters gave him the highest marks (58 percent approve) while Bronx voters gave him the lowest (42 percent approve).

The poll gets more interesting when you look at how voters responded to this question: "Do you think the New York City public schools have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same since Michael Bloomberg became mayor?"

This time, 36 percent said the schools had improved, 20 percent said they'd gotten worse, 33 percent said they'd stayed the same, and 11 percent were unsure. Not a clear referendum at all. Among parents, the results were almost equally mixed with 40 percent saying the schools had gotten better, 22 percent saying they'd gotten worse, and 35 percent saying they'd stayed the same; 3 percent were unsure.

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WNYC News

Getting to the Bottom of the Reading Scores

Thursday, May 07, 2009

School districts from New York City to Buffalo found plenty to cheer about when the state released the results of this year's English Language Arts exam. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg once again said the increase showed his administration had put the schools on the right track. Skeptics once again found little evidence that the gains in New York City were really so much more dramatic than the statewide gains.

Let's do the numbers:

Statewide, 77 percent of students made Level 3 or 4 on their English language Arts exam, which is what the state considers meeting or exceeding the standards. That's a nine percentage point increase from 2008. In New York City, almost 69 percent of pupils met the standards, an increase of 11 points from 2008.

Clearly, the gap between the city and state scores is definitely getting smaller. But are the city's scores off the chart, so to speak? And what does that bode for Mayor Bloomberg's effort to persuade the legislature that he should maintain full control over the schools when that 2002 law expires at the end of June?

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WNYC News

Tracking the Teachers

Monday, May 04, 2009

Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents

Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents

The new Chancellor of the Board of Regents says New York State will apply this summer for a piece of the federal stimulus package dedicated to education reforms. The Obama Administration has made $5 billion available for states and districts to come up new assessments, data systems and ways of improving teacher effectiveness. Chancellor Merryl Tisch says New York's application will include a proposal to track graduates of teaching colleges to see which ones are most effective when they're placed in urban areas.

'It will help us give them the appropriate professional development,' she says. 'And mostly if we do those things right, the preparation and the professional development, we will be able to retain teachers throughout the system instead of hemorrhaging teachers in urban centers.'

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WNYC News

Klein Calls on Parents to Cast Their "Vote"

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein


City parents are participating in their first ever 'straw vote' for members of Community Education Councils (CECs). The balloting began Monday, online only, and will continue until April 22. The Department of ...

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WNYC News

Final Meeting on Mayoral Control of Schools

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hundreds of people are at a public school in Brooklyn testifying before state lawmakers on whether the mayor of New York should keep control of the city's schools.

connellyhearing
Patricia Connelly and Ellen Raider of the parent commission think the mayor has too much power over school zoning and siting issues, and doesn't listen to communities.

Mayor Bloomberg is hoping the state will re-authorize the law it approved years ago before it expires in June. But as WNYC's Beth Fertig reports, there are several other ideas out there.

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WNYC News

About Those Subway Ads for the Schools

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Television ads proved expensive

Television ads proved expensive

'Keep it Going, NYC'

That's the tag line for a series of subway ads about the New York City public schools. The ads tout higher graduation rates, and say 'Because every child deserves a great education, New York City Public Schools are making big improvements.'

Some New Yorkers have wondered whether these ads are at all connected to Mayor Bloomberg's re-election campaign. Some have asked if they're related to an even fiercer campaign right now over whether Albany should renew the law that gave Bloomberg control of the public schools when it expires in June.

For the record, the ads are by the Fund for Public Schools - a non-profit based at the Department of Education, which raises private money for the city schools. That's the same Fund that was headed by Caroline Kennedy.

'It raises flags of 'what is the message?'' says Chris Keeley, Associate Director of Common Cause, New York. 'The success of the schools or success of Mayor Bloomberg? Maybe they’re intertwined.'

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