The Picador Precedes the Matador: The Toreadors Begin To Encircle Mayoral Control

A political trivia question: What do Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have in common?
They all had governors who resigned due to “ethical improprieties,” aka foolishness … two of them, thinking, to quote Alan Dershowitz,  with an organ other than their brain.
The feeding frenzy of the media has totally buried education news.
On Tuesday, a combined meeting of the New York State Assembly and Senate selected three members of the Board of Regents, they reappointed Geraldine Chapey and appointed two new members, Betty Rosa and Lester Young.
Rosa was the Community Superintendent in District 8 in the Bronx and highly regarded by the Bronx political and educational pre-Klein establishment. Young was Community Superintendent in District 13 in Brooklyn, served a year under Klein as the first Director of the Office of Student Placement, Youth and Family Support Services (SPYFSS).
Both spent decades working their way up through “the system” and represented all that Klein has been so busy tearing down.
On the legislative side two bills have been introduced in the Assembly that “nibble away” at mayoral control. One bill would require public hearings on school closing with time limits
 and the second would create community district education council principal selection committees.
The debate over mayoral control models is heating up as legislative bodies and the think tank/not for profit/university community begins to chime in. Diane Ravitch at Pace University, the panel discussion last week at the New School (that will up on a video feed within a week).
There are a number of schools of thought:
* the picador approach: weaken mayoral control now, nibble away at the power of the Chancellor, send a clear signal, and remake the entire system next year.
* the “iron is hot/do it now” approach: there is a growing consensus that mayoral control must be redesigned from the top down  … if you wait until next year, in the midst of a mayoral election, election politics will “eat up” any attempt at a reasoned approach to designing a new system. Remake it now.
* the “mayor or the model” approach: would we be so incensed if we had a different mayor? Is it the model or the mayor: do oppose mayoral control or is it the Bloomberg/Klein approach? Why not wait until after the November, 2009 election?
* the “cynical” approach: let mayoral control sunset, a new Mayor is elected and would have to negotiate with the legislature …
The transparency and sunlight of the current governance debate is the essence of a democratic society. All the stakeholders are chiming in … as the months pass the debate will only increase providing the legislature with an early window for changes. 
And, of course, a new governor, getting up to speed on the range of issues, is another ingredient in the stew.
It will be an interesting spring.

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