Who Will the Next Mayor Choose for the Next NYC School Chancellor?

Today is election day in New York City, the first Ranked Choice Voting election, voters can “rank” (from # 1 to # 5) candidates.  The # 1 voter-getter in the first round may not be the winner, “exhausted” candidate ballots are transferred to other candidates. (See explanation of Ranked Choice Voting here)

It will take days, probably weeks to count the ballots, absentee ballots, early voting ballots, election day ballots and military ballots.

The primary winner, undoubtedly the winner in the November General election will be the mayor-in-waiting for almost six months; plenty of time to select a leadership team.

Due to the Citizen’s Unlimited Supreme Court decision, there is no limit to “independent expenditures,” many millions of dollars contributed primarily to Adams and Yang by billionaires and charter school supporters, (See NY Times article here).

The current chancellor is Meisha Porter (See official bio here  and NY Post here), selected  to serve in an acting capacity after her predecessor, Richard Carranza, surprisingly left after increasing conflict with the mayor.

Who would Adams pick?

He could simply reappoint Porter, the first female Afro-American chancellor and continuity, she planned the current summer school and the September re-opening, the allocation of the influx of dollars from the Biden Rescue Plan and the resolution of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit.

Adams might walk away from education and concentrate on reducing crime and rebuilding the city’s economy and leave education decisions to the local education councils

He can reach back into the past and select Rudy Crew who served as NYC Chancellor from 1995-99, currently President of Medgar Evers College and a long history of educational leadership positions.

Who would Yang pick?

Yang has no roots in New York City, no relationships to New York City politics. He might look for a national figure with experience in other large cities. A choice might be Paul Vallas, superintendent in Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Stanford. Vallas would be highly controversial, He could go to Chiefs for Change; a Jeb Bush created organization to select one their members, for example, Angelica Infante-Green, currently commissioner in Rhode Island with deep roots in New York.

Who would Garcia select?

Garcia is a manager in the Bloomberg tradition. Bloomberg reached beyond the city and selected a range of managers separated from the age-old crony politics.

As sanitation commissioner she had a good relationship with the union, a strong and outspoken union.

Could she find a manager to run the school system who also had a good relationship with unions?  Maybe Josh Starr has NYC roots, a frequent commenter and a former superintendent in Montgomery County.

Should she look at former NYC superintendents who understand the complexities of the city?

Yang and Adams are charter school supporters; however, charter schools are subject to state law and under the current law the cap on charter schools prevents the creation of additional schools. Charter schools are supervised by either SUNY or the Board of Regents; see Board of Regents Charter Frameworks here.

Who would Wiley select?

An intriguing question: as the only progressive contender (aside from Morales who was polling in single digits and Scott Stringer, who is lagging in the polls) who opposed charter schools, a chancellor who supports eliminating testing for Gifted programs and aggressively pursues school integration efforts. Maybe Mark Dunetz, current the leader of New Visions for Public Schools or Tom Liam Lynch at the Center for NYC Affairs.

And Scott Stringer …

Stringer was the leading candidate until #metoo accusations lead to his abandonment by progressives who had endorsed Scott. The teachers union (UFT) endorsed and continued to support him in spite of the accusations. Scott might stick with Porter, continuity, Afro-American woman and majority/minority in the city.

The mayor-in-waiting will select a Transition Team, the selection usually is a clear indication of the direction of the soon to be mayor. 

To further complicate the UFT collective bargaining agreement ends in mid November. In New York State collective bargaining agreement remain in effect until the successor agreement is negotiated.

Will an outgoing mayor negotiate a contract that will impact the incoming mayor?  Representatives of the incoming mayor could be sitting at the bargaining table during the negotiations, or, de Blasio can simply say wait until after January 1 when the new gal/guy is in place. 

Bloomberg selected an attorney with no educational experience, not a possibility; the Board of Regents would not grant a waiver. Bloomberg/Joel Klein restructured the Department of Education five times!!  From ten mega-regions to forty-five Affinity Districts.

Will the new mayor seek to be an “education mayor,” or, allow the chancellor and the local education councils to make more decisions? 

Will the new mayor “thin out” the central bureaucracy?

Will the new mayor negotiate a contract with the union, challenge the union or create a collaborative relationship?

A new mayor, a new comptroller, four new boro presidents, 35 out of 51 new members of the city council and a new leader of the city council in an extremely well-funded Department of Education, at least for the next two years.

Vote, it really does matter, and a truly open election.

One response to “Who Will the Next Mayor Choose for the Next NYC School Chancellor?

  1. Eric Nadelstern

    The next mayor and chancellor will assume their responsibilities at the most difficult moment in the history of the New York City public schools. While many will consider a return to prepandemic normalcy a victory, this is not the time for safe choices.

    Here are three suggestions for the work ahead:

    – Integrate schools within and across districts. Unzone our schools and admit by lottery if there are more applicants than seats.

    – Eliminate as much of the bureaucracy north of schools as possible and put the savings into schools and classrooms. The goal should be 3 teachers responsible for two classes of kids, PreK-12, throughout the system.

    – Democratize schools by involving teachers, parents and kids in the most important decisions that affect them. If there’s a lesson to take away from the January 6th insurrection, it’s that schools must go beyond simply talking about civics and democracy. They must become the best examples in our society of the many benefits democracy can provide. Students don’t learn from listening to us talk about democratic values, but rather from experiencing them.

    Liked by 1 person

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