School Governance: Watching a Law Evolve Before Our Very Eyes, A Lesson in Transparency.


The long awaited closed Democratic conference, aka caucus, took place Tuesday night and Speaker Silver and Education Chair Nolan rolled out their “plan,” retaining mayoral control with cosmetic changes. The mayor continues to appoint a majority of the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) without any fixed terms, the PEP appointees would continue to serve as “at will” members, totally beholden to the appointing agent. The Daily News, via Gotham Schools reports,
Silver’s plan, presented along with Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens), would not mandate set terms for panel members, although a number of Democrats want such a requirement to ensure the body is more than just a rubber stamp.

The schools chancellor would no longer be chairman of the body and would be required to visit each school district every two years. The chairman would be voted on by panel members.

The panel, which would be required to meet once a month and in each borough at least once a year, would vote on all policy decisions, capital spending plans and budgets, the sources said.

A procurement policy for no-bid contracts would need to be developed, and the public would be required to receive 45 days notice of any school closures.

Silver would also seek to return “real power” to the district superintendents.

Silver is seeking to extend the law for six years.

Per the article Assembly members were “skeptical.
The Silver/Nolan plan parallels the Senate Majority Leader Smith plan.
In ordinary circumstances if the Speaker, the relevant committee chair, and the Senate Majority leader agree its a “done deal.”
By Wednesday, and after four hours of discussion in the “conference” Silver was much more conciliatory.

“There is no bill, just general concepts, our proposals to address parental involvement, to address transparency and keep mayoral control of the Board of Education (sic) itself,” Silver told reporters today.
“This is an evolving process. It will not be resolved, either conference-wise or legislatively, for a few weeks.”


Asked if he thinks mayoral control will be reauthorized before the end of the legislative session, despite the fact that a number of his Democratic members aren’t thrilled with the idea, Silver said:

“Yes, yes, absolutely. But I believe it needs the parental involvement piece, very much so, and transparency. My conference is on board with a lot of the issues. How on board is the issue that evolves.” 

Will Silver listen to his “skeptical” members?  Especially when much of the opposition to Klein/Bloomberg come from members of color.
How much influence will the UFT have? Is the union Mayoral Control 2.0 in play?
What are the repercussions?
Will members who support only cosmetic changes face angry parents? Will a stronger plan draw the wraith of the mayor?
According to the NY Post,
But Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan), a critic of mayoral control, said, “It’s a toothless proposal. It’s all aesthetic changes.”
The opposition to the Klein/Bloomberg iteration of mayoral control is certainly grassroots, parents and advocates in every neighborhood in the city.
Are the Silver/Nolan “general concepts” only floated to measure the depth of the opposition to the Bloomberg suzerainty among their colleagues and the citizenry?
And, if the legislators cannot agree upon and pass a law by June 30 the current law sunsets, and we return, probably, to the previous law. I say “probably” because there are a number of complex legal issues.
Three men a room? Not this time … 150 Assembly members and 62 Senators in the glare of the spotlight. Isn’t it fun, actually watching a law evolve before our very eyes!


2 responses to “School Governance: Watching a Law Evolve Before Our Very Eyes, A Lesson in Transparency.

  1. Pingback: Remainders: Legions protest a charter school siting in Brooklyn | GothamSchools

  2. Pingback: Remainders: Legions protest a charter school siting in Brooklyn - Online Education in America

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