Posts Tagged ‘Mayoral Control’

1st November
2008

First Published on the Public Advocate’s Corner October 29, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

Shortly after I began writing a regular column for The New York Sun six-and-a-half years ago, the mayor was given control of the New York City public schools. During that period I have written around two hundred columns on the schools, most of which discuss various aspects of mayoral control.

I am by nature a skeptical fellow, and the story of the educational “reform” that has taken place since then has given me much to be skeptical about. Unfortunately, last month the Sun published its final issue, so now is as good a time as any to reflect on this remarkable story that I have followed since the beginning.

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29th September
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, September 29, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

For the past six-and-a-half years I have frequently occupied space on these pages sounding off on everything from nepotism in Bronx politics to politically induced fear of eating French fries or Frosted Flakes. Most often I have written about our schools.

I came to this task with a point of view, influenced by the events of 1968 and 1969, turbulent years for society, but particularly for New York’s schools.

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5th September
2008

Published in The New York Sun. September 5, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

A commission, appointed by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, has recommended a revision in the State Education law, putting restrictions on the power of the mayor to run the city’s public schools. Lurking in the background is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, the issue of term limits.

The two issues are intertwined, and indeed the mayor’s inflexibility, rejecting any proposal for change in school governance, suggests that he will indeed move to end or modify term limits, to allow him to run for a third term.

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29th August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 29, 2008

It is now just 10 months before the expensive experiment that is mayoral control of Gotham’s public schools is set to expire. And as parents ready their children for the start of classes Tuesday, the news has been released that the average S.A.T. scores have declined here once again.

There was no press extravaganza. No Power Point presentations, no top officials, union leaders at their side, beaming as the results were outlined. No, troubling test results turn out to be an orphan.

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11th August
2008

First Published in The New York Sun, August 11, 2008

By Andrew Wolf

A third group has begun public hearings on the future of mayoral control of the public schools, due to sunset in less than a year, on July 1, 2009.

This panel, the “New York City School Governance Task Force,” is sponsored by the New York State Senate Democratic minority. It may well be the Democratic majority come January, which would greatly diminish the mayor’s clout in Albany.

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9th November
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, November 9, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

The creation of school report cards with letter grades attached is an intriguing concept, which explains the enthusiasm by the editorial boards here in Gotham. At its center is a simple idea I advanced in this space more than five years ago, value added testing.

On October 4, 2002, I wrote, “The best schools are not necessarily those that score highest, but rather those that achieve the greatest improvement of their individual students. Only if we look at the schools by this measure can we evaluate the efficacy of the curriculum and teaching methods they employ.”

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21st September
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, September 21, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

It hasn’t escaped the notice of the city’s politicians that in less than two years, unless mayoral control of the public schools is affirmatively ratified by the state legislature, the old Board of Education will rise like a phoenix from the ashes, along with the much-maligned 32 community school boards.

Two commissions have been appointed this week to study the future governance of the schools, one by the City Council, the other by the public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum.

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2nd March
2007

First Published in The New York Sun, March 2, 2007

By Andrew Wolf

When the history books are written, it will be noted that the beginning of the end of New York’s grand experiment with mayoral control of the schools came at 6:30 a.m. on January 29, 2007. It was then that the city’s school buses began to roll on new routes suggested by an extraordinarily expensive outside consultant, hand-picked without competitive bidding by the Department of Education.

In a certain sense it is a sad reflection of our times that the outrage over the direction of the schools came as a result of the peripheral issue of bus routes. That eighth-grade reading scores haven’t budged in eight years, a reflection of educational stagnation impacting tens of thousands of our students, doesn’t seem quite as compelling as one child waiting in the cold for a bus that never comes. (more…)

21st July
2006

First Published in The New York Sun,  July 21, 2006

By Andrew Wolf

We are now well past the halfway point in New York’s great experiment with mayoral control of the schools, an experiment that appears to be a work in progress. When first passed, few commented about one curious provision of the law — it is due to sunset exactly seven years after it was first passed. Seven years seemed like an eternity back in 2002. But now we are only three years away from the day that if the legislature and governor do nothing, the old Board of Education and the 32 Community Districts will be reinstated, rising phoenix-like from the dead. Stranger things have happened.

It is now four years since Mayor Bloomberg made the surprising choice of Joel Klein as chancellor, and a full three years since his much-heralded “Children First” restructuring was put into place. What is there now is a creation of the current administration, which makes it all the more surprising that Chancellor Klein is not only engaged in dismantling the structure that he himself put in place to “reform” the system, but is hiring outsiders to do the job for him. (more…)