Council Members Al Vann and Robert Jackson, who is chair of the Education Committee, introduced a resolution today asking the State Legislature to limit mayoral control of city schools. The resolution, which comes following growing controversy over recent school closings, calls on the legislature to give community councils approval over school closures and co-locations.
“The process for proposing and approving these significant changes to schools has disenfranchised communities and parents,” Mr. Vann said. “Providing a significant role for CECs in the co-location and school closure process will not only ensure that proposals are thoughtful and truly include input from communities and parents, but also will enhance community and parental involvement in our public schools.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed a recent poll showing a majority of New Yorkers disapprove of his handling of the schools on the United Federation for Teachers’ ad campaign criticizing his record on education.
“Somebody goes and runs a bunch of ads every day on television, you can create exactly that poll,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The mayor went on to suggest he could turn around the numbers by buying his own ads.
“I guess I could go spend some money and reverse the poll, the press would love it,” he said.
Last time the UFT took out ads against Mayor Bloomberg in March that’s exactly what he did. At that time, the mayor opened a campaign committee to fund a $5.6 million campaign defending his record on schools complete with polling, mailings and TV ads. Mayor Bloomberg subsequently shut his committee in October, on the exact same day The Politicker wrote a story about its activities.
Mayor Bloomberg’s education policies have come under fire in recent weeks due to the closing of several city schools. After the mayor’s preliminary budget presentation today, Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott defended mayoral control of city schools and said he doesn’t “buy into” criticism the city hasn’t been transparent enough about school closures.
“Mayoral control has worked, it’s worked well, and we are continuing to improve and refine it to make sure it’s even better,” Mr. Walcott told Politicker.