Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mayoral Control Reform

The NY Times is reporting on the educational panel set up by the Public Advocate on the issue of continued mayoral control of the NYC schools. Changes are recommended-no more carte blanche: "A commission appointed by the city’s public advocate recommends in a report scheduled for release on Thursday that the state law giving the mayor control over New York’s public schools be renewed, but amended to place more limits on City Hall’s power."

Indeed, there are those who will say that this doesn't go far enough-given how much the mayor and chancellor, rather unbeknownst to most, have botched the entire effort. It's little wonder that Joel Klein is barnstorming the country on education with that other well known fabulist Al Sharpton; a definite MasterCard moment.

The Gotbaum Commission makes a point that we've been emphasizing: the need for more oversight: "The mayor should appoint the chancellor, the 10-member commission of education experts and advocates concluded after hearing testimony from 50 witnesses, but an independent board, the Panel for Educational Policy, should have more influence on the city’s educational policies and budget."

The Commission recognizes as well, the lack of checks and balances in the current governing structure: "“There is a general consensus that putting one elected official in charge of education is preferable to the former governance arrangement that dispersed authority and responsibility,” the report states, but it adds, “The law needs to be amended for additional checks on the power of the mayor.”

All of which is a good beginning to what should, hopefully, be a robust debate on the mayor and the chancellor's "achievements." As Karl Marx wondered, "Who will educate the educators?"