Friday, July 07, 2017

Mayoral Control Is a Lose-Lose

I've opposed mayoral control since its inception, originally because it went to uber-reformy Michael Bloomberg. During his seemingly endless tenure, I learned more about it. I think Diane Ravitch wrote in Death and Life of the Great American School System that it was a reformy tool designed to bypass democracy. Unlike Bloomberg and Trump, I believe in democracy.

Now you'd think that having a professed charter foe like de Blasio in office might make mayoral control better. You'd be wrong because to Andrew Cuomo and the bought-off members of the Assembly and Senate, reforminess is almost like breathing. Because NYC has chosen a mayor who doesn't support the people who sent them suitcases full of cash, they passed a law that the city has to pay charter rent even if it disapproves of the actual charter.

It's fundamentally unfair that NYC has to shoulder the mandates of reformy suburban reps who wouldn't build charters in their own district on a bet. This notwithstanding, there was a barrage of pro-mayoral control talk recently, from self-appointed public education experts as diverse as Andrew Cuomo, Arne Duncan and Al Sharpton. The outcry led to a special session to push mayoral control and a two-year renewal. And we were told it was a clean deal, with no givebacks to the charter sector.

That sounded too good to be true, didn't it? Well it was, and NYC is now going to have 22 more charter schools. Reformy StudentsFirstNY is jumping up and down with giddiness, as are all the astroturf groups that represent the hedge funders who care so much about public education. Evidently these were charters that were granted but somehow did not make it as charters.

There's a lot of talk about charter quality, but the fact is they don't simply take a representative cross section of students. The fact is they don't hold on to the students they have, and they aren't burdened with the stats of the students they shed. The fact is all the students they don't finish with end up in public schools, and we are then vilified for their test scores. Even more importantly, the only stats the media regards as significant are test scores. There's something fundamentally wrong with a school that needs to keep extra clothing around for when kids pee their pants. If kids in your class peed their pants from fear, you'd be sitting in a rubber room somewhere, not making a half-million salary like Eva Moskowitz.

UFT's position is odd. As an organization we favor mayoral control, but not in its current form. Thus there was no UFT presence at some demonstration favoring it. On the other hand, there was no fervent opposition either. We just kind of stood on the sidelines. Thus, it appears that not only is the city getting another 22 charters, but it's also paying more money to charter operators. I don't suppose Moskowitz will have to wait eight years (like we did) before giving herself that hefty raise.

Here's the thing--charters are a Trojan Horse. They are designed to undermine and destroy us, and they hire people to move just in that direction. Jenny Sedelis works for StudentsFirstNY. I don't know what she does, but I know I've seen her name in many, many articles about reforminess. Moskowitz just won a lawsuit allowing her to take city money for preK while ignoring city rules about preK.

It seems to me that any school that wishes to take city money ought to be bound to follow city rules, including chancellor's regs. If I were to treat kids the way Eva does, I'd be in a rubber room. Someone who runs a chain of schools that treats kids like that ought to be in prison, meeting like-minded child abusers.
blog comments powered by Disqus