What do the Honduras military and the New York City Borough Presidents have in common? They both conducted coup d’etats.
Minutes after midnight four of the Borough Presidents (Bronx: Diaz, Manhattan: Stringer, Queens: Marshall and Brooklyn: Markowitz) appointed members to the newly resuscitated Board of Education as the mayoral control law sunset.
The newly appointed members immediately convened a meeting, thanked Joel Klein for his service and appointed Rudy Crew, former superintendent in Dade County (Miami) and former NYC Chancellor, as Chancellor of the NYC School System.
Comptroller and democratic mayoral aspirant William Thompson joined State Senator John Sampson announcing their support for Crew and the introduction of legislation moving the May, 2010 Community School Board elections to the second Tuesday in August, 2009.
The Mayor was unavailable for comment.
Dream on …
In reality four of the five Borough Presidents, Diaz was evasive, announced their support for Joel Klein . The sunset of the mayoral control law and the devolution to the former law will result in a seven person board, each borough president will appoint a member and the mayor will appoint two members. The Community Education Councils (CEC) will also sunset and elections for Community School Boards will be held in May, 2010.
If the borough presidents and the mayor appoint their members to the board it is hard to envision significant law suits.
Esmerelda Simmons the Director of the Medgar Evers Center for Law and Justice, and a former appointee to the central board by Mayor Dinkins paints a dreary picture of a board obsessed by political contracts and unconcerned with pupil achievement.
As the clock ticks toward midnight it increasingly looks like mayoral control will turn into a pumpkin, but that very same pumpkin is not likely to make substantive transparent changes, it will give the borough presidents the opportunity to trade votes for the range of decisions that boards make … siting of schools, school openings and closings, chancellor initiatives, budgets, contracts and on and on.
While opponents of mayoral control may be gleeful, see here and here, the reversion to the past is hard to read.
Even if the Senate does reconvene it looks increasingly like the Assembly bill will not be automatically passed. Senator Sampson has made it clear that any agreement will require alterations, perhaps fixed terms, greater transparency, clarification of the requirement of the DOE to comply with City law and an enhanced role for parents
The elephant in the room, if the Mayor is dissatisfied with the outcome will he “punish” schools by reducing funding streams?
The Assembly bill contained significantly enhanced rolls for superintendents and Tweed has been planning for their new roll. Interestingly the Assembly bill would have halted school closings, the Department would have to give six months notice, complete an Education Impact document and hold public hearings. Additionally the bill clarifies the roll of school and district leadership teams.
The devolution to a borough president dominated central board and the absence of school boards for a year could result in less parental input, continuation of a strong chancellor, the only difference might be the involvement of the borough presidents in the backroom trading of political contracts.
Then again, maybe I’m being too cynical and the borough prez central board will be exemplars of virtue.