New York—State Senator Liz Krueger joined her colleagues from the Senate Democratic Conference Task Force on School Governance today at a public hearing on Mayoral Control of New York City's schools. The task force is comprised of nine Senate Democratic members who will investigate and report on the effect Mayoral Control has had on the New York City public educational system. The Task Force has already held a series of public hearings over the past couple of months, with one more still to follow.
"This is the time to broaden the public dialogue and evaluate the data," said Senator Krueger. "Parents, Teachers, Principals, educational researchers and City government officials all have their own perspective on what has worked and what hasn't since we moved the City's school system directly under the authority of the Mayor."
The New York City educational system has been under mayoral control since the State passed the New York City Education and Reform Accountability Act of 2002. This law was intended to overhaul the City's public school system by consolidating most of the administrative and personnel powers into the office of the School's Chancellor, who is solely accountable to the Mayor. This State law is scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2009.
"With the law set to expire, we have been given a golden opportunity to hear from the public and figure out what changes might need to be made," said Senator Krueger. "The parents and educators who I saw at these meetings are the ones who experience first hand how Mayoral Control has affected the City's school system. They have the direct knowledge to educate the legislature about what has worked and what problems need to be fixed."
Senator Krueger continued, "I have met with many constituents since Mayoral Control went into effect, who have serious and legitimate concerns about our schools. I don't think anyone wants to revert back to the old Board of Education model, but this is the right time to evaluate how we should adjust our laws to improve the system and reach further toward our goal of having the best school system in the country."
Testifiers at this hearing included:
Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum
April Humphrey, Alliance for Quality Education
Pam Bennett, Citizen Action of New York
Richard Kessler, Center for Arts Education
Zakiyah Ansari, Coalition for Education Justice
Geri Palast, Campaign for Fiscal Equity
Leonie Hamison, Class Size Matters
Jason Welch, Testimony for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
Carmen Alvarez, United Federation of Teachers
Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor at Steinhardt School of Education
Dr. Joseph Viteritti, Executive Director of Commission on School Governance
Jane Hirschman, Chair of Time Out from Testing
Ann Cook, Chair of New York Performance Standards Consortium
Donna Lieberman, New York Civil Liberties Union
Donna Nevel, Center for Immigrant Families