New administrations, whether in politics or business, attempt to brand themselves – attempt to set themselves apart from the administration they replaced.
“the process of creating a relationship or a connection between a company’s product and emotional perception of the customer for the purpose of building loyalty among customers… a fulfillment in customer expectations and consistent customer satisfaction”
Sometimes a simple phrase, FDR’s New Deal branded the new administration. For de Blasio the “tale of two cities” theme has resonated through his policy choices, from ending “stop and frisk,” to a “living wage,” more “affordable housing,” and, of course, ”Universal Pre-Kindergarten,” the campaign to embed the de Blasio brand.
Days after de Blasio took the oath of office the city restarted contract negotiations with the teachers union, removing the impediment of angry teachers and other city workers was crucial.
After Cuomo refused to grant NYC the right to raise taxes to fund PreK the State budget agreement provided adequate dollars for Universal Pre K, although the time frame to implement was short.
As the summer began, and six months into her chancellorship, the whispers started, when was the new administration at Tweed going to lay out its vision, what was going to change?
The old guard, the Bloomberg-Klein devotees worried, for good reason, everything they built would be dismantled, after all, that’s what the Bloomberg administration did; they trashed everything that proceeded.
The Bloomberg administration branded themselves, dismantling decentralization and creating mayoral control, the closing of scores of schools and the creation of hundreds of new schools, supporting new charter schools, the co-location of charter schools in public school building, the letter A to F School Report Cards, all policies, according to Bloomberg, improving a dysfunctional school system: he branded himself: Michael Bloomberg, the educational mayor.
Last week de Blasio fulfilled a campaign pledge, he changed the School Report Card from A to F letters grades to a four-page “Quality Snapshot” and a multiple page “Quality Guide” for staffers with new school descriptions, “exceeding, meeting, approaching or not meeting standards.” Schools, also, will no longer be ranked.
See sample Reports here: http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/default.htm
Chalkbeat reports the criticism,
Groups that supported the previous administration and have been critical of Fariña called her speech a disappointment and said it failed to address head-on the city’s many struggling schools. Even people who praised the new evaluations said it was troubling that the city did not say how it will use the ratings to prop up low-performing schools.
Joseph Viteritti, a public policy professor at Hunter College, said the evaluation shift represents an improvement from the previous administration’s “top-down approach to reform.”
“Unfortunately,” he added, “it does not outline a real plan for what [this administration] intends to do with failing schools.”
Chancellor Farina is enormously popular with teachers, her praise of staffs, her emphasis on trust and collaboration, her refusal to close schools, and looked upon with suspicion by the Bloomberg crowd and the “reform” elites.
After all, didn’t they sharply increase graduation rates, close dysfunctional schools, challenge the union, and train dynamic young principals?
While the Bloomberg team was effective in branding themselves as educational innovators and reformers, the NY Post was in their pocket and the NY Daily News usually supportive, and, the NY Times occasionally critical, usually supportive. On the national scene Bloomberg was the education mayor: changing the direction of education in the city.
In reality, the credit recovery fraud, the packing of at-risk kids into schools targeted for closing, questionable marking of regents papers all cast doubt on the increases in graduation rates, and the appalling college and career readiness rates, the disastrous completion rates in community colleges all question the accuracy of the graduation rates.
de Blasio can’t wait a decade to assess the impact of pre-Kindergarten; Farina can’t wait a couple of years to see if reading and math scores jump…
de Blasio and Farina have to take ownership, to brand their approach, to convince the public that their vision of education is best for their children. And, if the vision is unclear, if the new vision looks like older visions, if the Post and the Daily News and elites and decision-makers and the political power structure lose confidence the entire administration can be in trouble.