A Roadmap to School Governance, with Potholes, Bumps, Curves and Spins to “Victory for All Children and Families,” Whatever That Is …

  Have you been keeping track of the school governance plans? The plans authored by Betsy Gotbaum. Scott Stringer, Jim Brennan, Marty Dilan, ICOPE, UFT, Independent Parents Commission, CSA, the Campaign for Better Schools  the “sun setters, and the “make governance permanent”  crowd. Did I leave any out?

 
Someone asked why all the groups don’t get together and agree on a single plan … same chances as the Sunni, Shiaa and Kurds getting together in the Iraqi parliament, holding hand and singing kumbaya
 
The overriding question in the re-authorized law: will the Mayor continue to appoint a majority of the Central Board (currently called the Public Education Panel)? If the answer is “no” the headline  will be: Mayoral Control Dead!! 
 
There are a range of other keys questions around the Central Board:
 
* who picks the Chancellor? the Mayor or the Board?
* a screening panel similar to local Bar Associations approving judicial candidates, approves candidates for the Board.
* fixed terms, can only be removed for malfeasance.
* Chancellor would be an ex officio member, non-voting.
* explicit duties of the new Board in the law: i.e., approves contracts of a certain size.
 
Will the law explicitly layout the duties and responsibilites of the Chancellor? Former Assembly Ed chair Steve Sanders feels that the law was not explicit enough and gave the Chancellor too much leeway.
 
Sol Stern, Manhattan Institute, has been called for an independent entity to control and report on school/school system data … underline independent. The current administration is opaque, and has closely held data, and believes they are the sole “interpretator” of all datum. The recently created Alliance for NYC Schools has not gotten off the ground, rumors, the Department still wants to select what data is released to whom.
 
The UFT plan contains a mechanism to appeal decisions of the Chancellor to the State Commissioner, the ability to continue on to the courts in an expedited process.
 
The Community Engagement Councils (CEC), formerly known as Community School Boards are powerless, and, not surprisingly, the Councils are filled with vacancies.
 
How CECs are selected is not important, the question is what are their powers? Will they have a role in recommending superintendents,? principals? will the law require a District Leadership Team?
 
The Assembly calendar lists June 22 as the final day of the session. I suspect that sections of “plans” will vie as the days tick down, with rumor after rumor and a “last minute” law will emerge.
 
Probably not a “win-lose” law, more likely it will contain elements that enable a wide range of power bokers to “spin” … with Mike and Randi and Shelly and Malcolm and Basil standing together all claiming the new law as a “victory for all children and families.”

 

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