Tag Archives: Bill de Blasio

Midnight Oils Burn at Tweed as the Rollout of Policies Begin: The Beginning of a Road to the White House?

The midwinter recess is a pause, a week to decompress, to catch a flight and lay on a beach with an adult beverage in hand, sleeping late, reading that pile of books that have been gathering dust, movies, movies, movies, and the nightmare that wakes you up sweating at night, the upcoming state tests.

At Tweed the lights are burning late, Carmen Farina, Tony Shorris, Dorita Gibson, Phil Weinberg and Ursulina Ramirez, the new team, are creating a new Department of Education, a phoenix rising from the ashes, an opportunity, a few brief months to place their stamp, to rebrand sixteen hundred schools and 1.1 million children. An awesome task.

Across the courtyard in City Hall the spinners are working on the media campaign, The Post will savage the decisions, the Eva Moskowitz corps, the Manhattan Institute, the Fordham Institute, even Bill Gates will be plotting how to respond, how to both undercut and derail the initiatives.

Bill de Blasio is bucking the tide, a progressive in an era of rampant conservatism, a mayor who opposes charter schools, committed to public schools, a mayor with one leg in the sixties and one in the future.

The conflict with Governor Cuomo over pre-k will resolve itself – both leaders, the governor of one of the most influential states in the nation and the mayor of Gotham City – the two most powerful politicians in New York State – politicians who need each other.

The co-location of charter schools in public school buildings will only impact a couple of dozen schools; it will also send a ringing message across the political stratosphere. The upcoming reorganization of the school system – networks, geographic districts or a hybrid will impact every school, and only create a ripple.

Charging rent to charter schools will flash around the internet.

The negotiation of the teacher contract can move teacher negotiations in a new direction. The major issues for teachers are back pay – retroactive pay back to November 1, 2009, the expiration of the last contract and “respect.” Will the contract simply increase salary with a few fillips for teachers, or, will the contract move in a new direction? And, if so, what direction?

The highly touted Baltimore teacher contract (2010) replaced step increases, increases based on longevity to increases based on “achievement units,” including teacher evaluations into the salary schedule. The contract was widely praised by Arne Duncan and other reformers and undoubtedly would not fly in New York.

Can de Blasio and UFT President Mulgrew carve out a new path – a de Blasio path – a path not praised by Arne Duncan or Gates, a path in the new urban philosophy addressing the tale of two cities.

Governors and mayors are under the thrall of elitist education reformers, from Arne Duncan to the billionaire faux soothsayers who claim to foretell the future, ignoring inequality, pampering the one tenth of one percent, the widest gap in income since the 1920s, Bill de Blasio stands alone. Over the months, over the years the Mayor of New York can emerge as the leader of a new left, a revival of the tarnished liberal reputation with roots leading back to JFK and Lyndon Johnson.

The route is rocky with gaping potholes, the chancellor and the mayor cannot afford the disaster of the last snowstorm, with snow falling at two inches an hour, with hardy winds blowing, the chancellor blithely chirped,

“It has totally stopped snowing. It’s absolutely a beautiful day out there right now,” she said at a morning news conference in Brooklyn with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Asked to elaborate, Farina said, “Coming down the stairs, the most obvious thing is it stopped snowing. The second thing, it’s getting warmer – which means that theoretically the snow will start melting.”

The mayor cannot afford missteps, cannot afford ridicule – the stakes are too high.

Andrea Elliot was just awarded the prestigious Polk Award for local reporting for the five-part “Invisible Child” – the story of the life of a middle school student living in a homeless shelter frames the de Blasio agenda. The shelter is surrounded by glittering high raise rental and million dollar condominiums. A perfect example of the tale of two cities. Whether de Blasio can build thousands of units of affordable housing is years down the road. Whether he can impact the education of the public school children of the City of New York will be decided in upcoming months.

Big city mayors around the country are under assault, Rahm Emanuel is at war with the Chicago Teachers Union, and the new mayor in Los Angeles has retained the extraordinarily unpopular superintendent of schools, John Deasy.

Don’t think that Bill isn’t thinking about a run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue down the road – and path begins with education policies … winning over suburban moms and voters of color converts to electoral votes.

Advice to deB from a Career Teacher …

(Marc Korashan is a frequenter commenter on this blog, a career teacher of students with emotional disabilities and a union activist.)

The entrenched leadership of the school system is all about test scores and little else. The Danielson frameworks are being turned into checklists and the “talent coaches” are pushing hard for the “gotcha” mentality that is the hallmark of all educational reform since No Child Left Behind. (See the NYTimes piece on the Bumpy Start for the New Teacher Evaluation system where only the talent coach is critical of a minor detail in practice that may or may not be applicable to the students in that class).

The real issue as Ed in the Apple points out is changing the culture. This requires reform above (changes in the evaluation process) and reform below. Principals should be empowered and required to begin working with teams in their schools to rewrite the Danielson rubrics to make them more objective and clearly focused on teacher behavior and not so much on student responses. Principals need to be required to provide SAVE rooms and establish meaningful discipline policies in every school so that we can reach the students who are failing and acting out in class. Guidance services need to be in place for students as well as families that are struggling.

The best way to shake up the culture in the schools may be to disempower principals. We can move away from the nineteenth century model that currently describes principals as all knowing and all powerful and move to a professional system where schools are run at the local level by a team of parents, teachers, and administration who must work together by consensus and receive help from the central bureaucracy. This is what SLTs were supposed to do before Klein imposed his corporate model (Every principal a CEO, see William Ouchi, “Making Schools Work“). Empowering school teams also empowers parents and teachers and brings more expertise to bear on the problems in an individual school than any top down management system can.

The question is does deB have the courage to try a truly progressive approach to remake the system?

How Will deBlasio and Mulgrew Dance? The Complexities of Changing School and School District Cultures

Gotham Schools reports that Mayor-elect Bill will not make his chancellor selection until next week. The rumors that the Commissioner of Education in Finland is taking a crash English course are unsubstantiated.

To date the appointments of deBlasio have been vanilla, solid, professional choices; a police commissioner who knows New York with a sparkling resume and other choices that upset no one – no more Sandinista supporters.

The talking heads, the newspapers, the blogs all speculate: why the delay? Is it Farina? And on and on … Just remember: when Mayor Bloomberg selected Joel Klein the response was, “Who?”

After deB defeated Thompson, the union’s first choice, union president Mulgrew and deB bonded. Perhaps bonded is too meek a word- it was a lovefest, Mulgrew praising deB to the sky and deB praising teachers.

After January 1 the dance begins.

The mayor-elect must get off to a good start.

The somewhat stumbling beginning, not selecting a chancellor for weeks has led to endless idyll speculation. Why the delay? The delay has led to suspicions.

The soon-to-be mayor must consolidate/invigorate his core supporters: parents and teachers.


deB: “I am imposing an immediate freeze on co-locations of charter schools in public school buildings. I am asking the chancellor to establish guidelines outlining a co-location process that includes parents, establish a period for public comment- we hope to have regulations in place within sixty days.”

deB: “I am directing the chancellor to enter into discussions with the union – the Absent Teacher Reserve – called the ATR pool – 1200 pedagogical employees who rotate from school to school each week is a waste of taxpayer dollars. We will return these employees to full time teaching positions within license as expeditiously as possible.”

The Department of Education is a $24 billion corporation with 120,000 employees – making changes is like changing the direction of the Titanic – it takes miles to slow down and make changes in direction, and, beware of icebergs.

The new chancellor, whoever she is (don’t assume anything from the use of “she,” I use it to make up for decades of female deprecation), will have to change a culture (Read “How to change school culture,” here)

In the last decade, the education standards movement has taught us that policy change without cultural change is an exercise in futility and frustration.

The greatest impediment to meaningful cultural change is the gap between what leaders say they value and what they actually do. Staff members are not seduced by a leader’s claim of “collaborative culture” when every meeting is a series of lectures, announcements, and warnings. Claims about a “culture of high expectations” are undermined when school policies encourage good grades for poor student work. The “culture of respect” is undermined by every imperious, demanding, or angry e-mail and voice mail coming from the principal [or superintendent or chancellor]l. Leaders speak most clearly with their actions. When staff members hear the call for transformation from a leader whose personal actions remain unchanged, their hope turns to cynicism.

How many school and school district leaders stand on the stage and lecture teachers about making their classes more interactive? How many leaders warn about change, or else, i.e., school closings, staff changes, etc?

The next chancellor must both reflect the views and feelings of parents and teachers and well as lead. I was a guest at a School Leadership Team meeting – a teacher made a proposal that the team, parents and teachers, thought was a good idea. The principal responded, “I don’t think this is going to work, obviously I’m in the minority, convince me I’m wrong, make it work.”

I worked in a school-based management, school-based budgeting district, school budgets required signoffs from the principal, the parent and union leaders. The superintendent’s mantra: you can do whatever the school SLT thinks will work, if it doesn’t, it’s my way.

de Blasio, the new chancellor and the union president must work to create school cultures that both lead and respect the views of all stakeholders.

Sometimes we will “agree to disagree,” sometimes we will reluctantly agree to go along, other times we will all be on the same page. As long as we live in a culture of respect we can prosper.

Moving from a culture of conflict, a culture that encouraged grenade tossing to a culture of collaboration is akin to moving from a Yankee fan to a Mets fan – not impossible – really, really hard.

It was far easier to blast away at Bloomberg in meeting after meeting, to rip the soon to be ex-mayor in TV ads and union meetings, than to slow dance with the new guy.

Maybe we all need dance lessons.

Whispering in de Blasio’s Ear: Running a City Versus Winning an Election: Who is Advising the Mayor Presumptive?

The day after Bill Thompson conceded the folks who ran de Blasio’s campaign packed up their laptops and moved on to the next race. They earned their fees.

600,000 Democratic voters selected a mayor for eight million New Yorkers, the de Blasio team knew how to push the right buttons. The TV commercial featuring his son’s Afro, the constant drumbeat on “stop-and-frisk,” the “tale of two cities” scenario carried the day for the 270,000 voters, the 40.3% who “elected” Bill de Blasio.

With a forty point bulge in the polls Bill de Blasio will be swept to victory on November 5th – his opponent’s chance of winning is about the same as the Mets winning the World Series and the Jets winning the Super Bowl.

The team that won the election is not the team who will run the city and the mayor presumptive is faced with a pre-election dilemma. How does he go about assembling a team that can satisfy his campaign promises? How does he address the long line at the Gracie Mansion door wanting to be paid back for their support?

Bill has to be careful; friends he trusts may not be giving him the professional advice he needs.

In the Carter administration I was having lunch with a “mover and shaker,” a partner in an important law firm that had guided national policy on a wide range of issues – he was bemoaning the selection of Carter’s fellow Georgians as his inner circle.

“This Carter guy told me, ‘You think only the Northeastern elite can run the country, only the Harvard/Yale crowd?’ to be perfectly honest, yes, we are the only ones.” BTW, the nine members of the Supreme Court come from, yes; you guessed it, only Harvard and Yale.

Carter felt “comfortable” with his good old boy pals, and he turned out to be a one- term president.

The two most important appointments to de Blasio’s administration, appointments that will frame his administration will be a new police commissioner and a new chancellor for the school system.

The speculation about the police commissioner was featured in the NY Times,

“For a change-oriented mayor, there’s a benefit to bringing in somebody from the outside,” said Jeremy Travis, the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who has discussed policing policy with Mr. de Blasio. “The next police commissioner faces two equally compelling imperatives: first to continue to bring crime down, and second to help the city navigate its way out of the current conundrum about the stop-and-frisk tactics.”

There appear to be a number of highly regarded candidates ranging from Bill Bratton to others both in and out of the current police hierarchy.

On the school front the choice is far more complex, there is no obvious candidate; there are many suitors.

Rumor has it that a former superintendent, Carmen Farina is the “whisperer” in the presumptive mayor’s ear.

A mistake.

Farina had a long career: principal to superintendent to regional superintendent to deputy chancellor, she left under a cloud. (Read details here)

Sources tell parent advocates’ reporters that Ms. Farina placed the daughter of former Brooklyn Technological High School Principal Lee McCaskill in PS 29, a violation of NYC BOE policies (McCaskill lived in New Jersey). Special Investigators were angry with Mr. Klein for permitting Mrs. Farina to retire before she was convicted. Farina, as well as Chancellor Joel Klein, have no contracts with the NYC DOE, and there’s the rub: How Do they get away with this?

While it may be comfortable to sit down with someone you know critical decisions must be made with the advice of the “wise men,” the city fathers (and daughters) who understand both the complexities, the skills required to govern as well as the politics.

De Blasio should listen to Randi Weingarten, Bill Thompson, Dick Parsons, Diane Ravitch, Mathew Goldstein, David Steiner … the best minds in the city.

His high profile campaign pledge, full day pre-kindergarten appears “dead-on-arrival” in Albany. In an election year, all of Albany is up for re-election, the Republicans on the Senate side and the Governor are openly cool to any increase in taxes to fund anything; by the 4th week in March the budget will be done – does de Blasio “fight the good fight,” and lose – or is there a way to “save face?”

Police commissioners and chancellors must support the policies of the mayor; earn the support of the public and the employees they lead.

The mayor needs a chancellor who can navigate Scylla and Charybdis, who can steer around the whirlpools and eddies and not be tempted by the bewitching song of the sirens. The chancellor, learning from Odysseus may have to bind himself tightly to the mast, his men blocking their ears with wax to avoid the alluring seductive melodies that would bring him, and the administration to doom.

Enough Greek mythology, although we can learn a great deal from the Greeks; listening to the guy next to you on the bar stool will empty your wallet and chase away your girlfriend.

Finding sages who have “been there and done that,” who have a vested interest in your success, crafting polices that are morally, ethically and politically attainable is the path a mayor must follow.

Musing on a New Chancellor and the Quandary of the Mayor, Experienced or Brash?

Henry IV was twenty-six years old in 1076 and Gregory VII was over fifty when at long last he came out from behind the scenes and became Pope.

“Early in his papacy, Gregory VII attempted to enact reforms to the investiture process; he was met by resistance from the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. Henry insisted that he reserved the traditionally established right of previous emperors to “invest” bishops and other clergymen, despite the papal decree.

Henry renounced Gregory as pope; in return, Gregory excommunicated and deposed Henry. He stated furthermore that, one year from that day, the excommunication would become permanent and irrevocable.”

Henry feared he would lose his kingdom if he did not come as a supplicant to the pope and receive absolution from the ban on receiving the holy sacraments.

“Dressed in woolen garments and with bare feet he traveled across the Alps to the papal castle in Canossa in the height of winter blizzards and told the pope that he cared much more for the celestial than the earthly kingdom; and offered to accept humbly whatever penance the pope would inflict.”

Today, “Canossa” refers to an act of penance or submission. To “go to Canossa” is an expression – to describe doing penance, often with the connotation that it is unwilling or coerced.

Will Shael “Go to Canossa” to seek absolution from the new pope, Bill de Blasio?

(Thought a little Core Knowledge and Common Core would raise the standards of the blog)

Over the last few weeks Shael announced that he was piloting a new accountability system not based solely on test scores, exactly what the union has been espousing for years.

• Measures of the quality of student classwork (e.g., research papers, extended essays, art, and science projects);

• Measures that are based on other student outcomes, including student course outcomes, especially at the elementary and middle school level;

• Measures that quantify elements of our school Quality Reviews (e.g., the quality of classroom instruction, student engagement, supports for teachers and families); and

• Measures of student academic behaviors and mindsets that are associated with college and career readiness (e.g., persistence, ability to work in teams, effective communication, and organizational skills).

On a panel on Tuesday Shael chastised the mayor and the union for negotiating an extended instructional day in 2005 rather than using the time for staff collaboration, again, basically a long held union core belief.

Has Shael “Gone to Canossa?”

Will the new pope “lift the ban” and select Shael to lead the school system? Unlikely.

The burdens are too great: was Shael an architect of the ATR pool, fair student funding, the enormous emphasis on testing, the training of principals and on and on, or, was he the voice of reason within the administration who was the “good soldier” who carried out orders with which he did not agree?

It is more likely that “Pope” Bill will want to break with the past, a new face.

Will he seek another large city superintendent, like Josh Starr (Montgomery County) or Andres Alonso (Baltimore)? Starr, after a few years in the classroom moved to Tweed and on to Stamford, Connecticut as superintendent. Starr had a rocky six years, rigid, battling with the NEA union local and the community. In Montgomery County he has become an outspoken opponent of high stakes testing, however, he’s an avid data-phile. Alonso was never more than a few steps away from Joel Klein and in Baltimore followed the (de)form playbook, although he did work closely with the union.

Neither is a break from the past although both appear eager to please their boss.

There are a number others hovering in the wings.

Betty Rosa was a superintendent in the South Bronx is currently a member of the Board of Regents and has been an expert and lifelong advocate for English language learners. Kathleen Cashin, a highly successful Regional Superintendent under the early Klein years, and, also a member of the Board of Regents, a professor at Fordham University, has been an outspoken critic of the Duncan/King game plan. Irma Zadoya, also a Regional Superintendent under Klein is currently leading the department leadership Programs. Carmen Farina, an advisor to the presumptive mayor has made it clear she is retired.

Maybe a superintendent in a high performing school district: Paris, Seoul, Helsinki?

Will Bill want to keep the “trains on the tracks,” or, like Governor Jerry Brown in California directly challenge the “Duncan Rules?”

I think the time is ripe to challenge the decade of (de)form, to pick a chancellor not tied to Arne in DC or John King in Albany, to pick a chancellor who is amenable to the wishes of parents and professionals, a chancellor to lead us back to sanity.

Who Will de Blasio Appoint to the Panel for Educational Priorities (PEP), the School Board?

The original concept of “mayoral control” did not abolish school boards; the governance structure was envisioned as the mayor and the borough presidents appointing a school board that would set policy for the school district. New York City has always had appointed school boards. Prior to 1970 school boards were appointed from a list approved by a screening panel. After 1970 the school board consisted of members appointed by the borough presidents (one each) and the mayor (two members).

Mayors, if they choose, could always round up sufficient votes if the issue was important enough. Rudy Giuliani was masterful; he used the school board to fire and hire chancellors of his choice, claimed credit for successes and flailed the school board to deflect criticisms.

Mayor Bloomberg chose to directly control education, initially he basked in the apparent successes of Joel Klein policies, and, as the public began to reject his policies he squirmed as his approval rating plummeted.

Sol Stern, in the City Journal points to a recent poll,

The public, for its part, remains dissatisfied with Gotham’s schools, according to a poll of city voters commissioned by the Manhattan Institute and conducted earlier this year by Zogby Analytics. Sixty-four percent of respondents rated school performance as either fair or poor, … New Yorkers now trust the oft-maligned teachers more than they trust the mayor’s office: almost half of all respondents said that teachers should “play the largest role in determining New York City’s education policy,” compared with 28 percent who thought that the mayor-appointed schools chancellor should.

From a political perspective Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy is deeply tarnished as he leaves office – education moved from his crowning jewel to dross.

Bill de Blasio, the presumptive mayor, has the opportunity to move back to the goal of the 2002 mayoral reform law – to appoint well-respected citizens to set educational policy within the broad goals of a de Blasio administration.

The current law establishes a thirteen member board – eight appointed by the mayor and one by each borough president. The current mayoral appointees are completely anonymous and come and go. In the single instance that mayoral appointees voted against a policy the mayor replaced the members.

The PEP meetings are not open discussions of policies, they are a succession of 3-minute speeches from the public opposing whatever policy is on the agenda ending in a vote in which all eight of the mayoral appointees affirm the issue. Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan Borough President appointee has been the only board member who has consistently challenged Bloomberg agenda items.

Sadly, while the PEP members commonly have impressive resumes in fact they are Pinocchios manipulated by Geppetto, the mayor.

It would be an important signal to the city if de Blasio appointed a highly respected board – a broad spectrum of New Yorkers with the expertise to work with a chancellor to create policies that support children and families.

Some have argued for board members who represent constituencies – I disagree. Parents are represented by the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee (CPAC) and similar organizations represent English language learners and children with disabilities. Unions represent employees.

I would suggest people of the caliber of David Jones, Community Service Society, James Hennessy, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, Mary Driscoll, Dean of the School of Education at CCNY, Dick Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners, LLC, Michael Rebell
Co-Founder; Executive Director, Campaign for Educational Equity, Ronald F. Ferguson
Senior Lecturer in Education and Public Policy, Harvard University, Mathew Goldstein, former Chancellor of the City University of New York, Luis O. Reyes Research Associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies/Centro De Estudios Puertorriqueños of Hunter College, CUNY, Kim Sweet, Executive Director, Advocates for Children, Joe Wayland, Simpson, Thatcher, LLP, Diane Ravitch, Historian, New York University, as examples. The city deserves an educational leadership that is immune to petty politics and can withstand the editorials in the NY Post.

Bill de Blasio is currently under attack from the right, his opponent points to support for the Sandinistas in the 80s and a honeymoon trip to Cuba. Sol Stern in the City Journal predicts the left, the far left, will be “feeding at the public trough,”

No group or individual will be deemed too far to the left as long as they jump on the de Blasio bandwagon. Lining up to receive their fair share of the spoils will be the old Acorn organization, now renamed New York Communities for Change; the far-left Working Families Party; the United Federation of Teachers and other municipal unions; the radical Service Employees International Union, including the former Communist-led health-care workers’ union Local 1199; the civil liberties and homeless lobbies; and, of course, the onetime racial arsonist Al Sharpton, now posing as a wise elder and political power broker. To varying degrees, each will have a place at the municipal trough. Meanwhile, at the other end of City Hall—thanks to the successful efforts of the Working Families Party in many local races this year—the newly elected city council will tilt further left and will dole out even more cash to radical and activist community groups.

A few months into his mayoralty the left will begin bashing de Blasio, he’s moving too slowly, why hasn’t he created the Socialist nirvana that they thought he espoused, or, ended “stop and frisk” and crime, why isn’t soma being handed out on street corners?

de Blasio needs the real estate developers, the investors, the Wall Street magnets, he needs the 1% to continue and invest and create jobs.

If the economy continues to improve, if tourists and their dollars continue to flock to the Apple, if some sense of sanity returns to Congress, the new mayor will have the dollars to address his “tale of two cities” campaign punditry.

If the gods are kind the next mayor can address the economic inequalities, if not, the city and the mayor will stumble.

A glittering panel of mayoral appointees can provide the new mayor with cover – can act as the “wise men (and women),” supporting policies to improve the lot for children and families.

The school board of the 70s, 80s and 90s were riven by petty politics, much more concerned with carrying out the political contracts of their patrons, the borough presidents, than reading scores or graduation rates. A school board with credentials, similar to the CUNY, SUNY and the Board Regents can serve as a true policy board engaging and supporting mayoral policies, as well as, on occasion, telling the mayor he should consider moving in a different direction.

And, BTW, does the current Board realize that barring a Weiner-esque disclosure they will be gone in three months?

From “Fighting to Building a School System,” The UFT Enthusiastically Endorses de Blasio … with High Expectations.

Bill Thompson stepped to the microphone on election night, his opponent; Bill de Blasio was a couple of hundred votes north of the 40% which would obviate an October 1 runoff.

“We’re in this race until the last ballot is counted.”

On Wednesday it was clear, de Blasio had won in every constituency, from Afro-Americans to gays to women, in Queens, in Brooklyn, and the Democratic Party scions desperately wanted to avert a contentious and expensive October 1 clash.

On Monday morning, on the steps of City Hall, Thompson threw in the towel and minutes later the union e-announced a special Delegate meeting on Wednesday.

The 1,000 delegates crammed into the Shanker Auditorium in union headquarters were anxious to vote. Mulgrew laid out the scenario and opened the floor, after a motivating speech extolling de Blasio another delegate was recognized,

“This is a no-brainer, I move to close debate,” to ecstatic cheers.

After an almost unanimous vote de Blasio strode to the stage, a rousing pro public school. pro teacher, pro-union speech. While de Blasio never mentioned charter schools he did emphasize that the future of the city lay in high effective public schools, emphasizing public.

With a forty-point lead in the polls de Blasio should sail to victory.

He faces staggering issues.

For twenty years the Democratic Party establishment has been on the outside looking in. The Mayor appoints thousands to city positions. Bloomberg, for all his flaws, for the most part, hired managers free of party labels. Can de Blasio satisfy a Democratic Party hungry for old-fashioned patronage?

“Tax the rich” and the “Tale of Two Cities” was a highly effective campaign strategy, how does de Blasio convince investors to continue investing, real estate developers to continue developing, without alienating his base?

“Stop and Frisk,” again, an effective campaign issue, an issue of concern to police officers, how do you assure police officers, and the citizenry that ending “stop and frisk” will not increase violent crime?

The labor contracts of all city employees have expired, the teachers’ contract almost four years ago. How do you find the dollars to negotiate new labor contracts?

And, not the least, the school system: how do you repair a school system that has been at war with their employees and the wide range of advocates?

Is there a Jesus-Mohammad-Abrahamic figure that can sweep in and bind the wounds?

The UFT, the teacher union, has been in a fight mode for years, can they move from fight to partner?

The union membership, while strongly supportive of union leadership, is divided along generational lines (See Susan Moore Johnson article here). Participation in the April union election was at an all-time low. A “now that our guy won why can’t we go back to the way it was,” attitude is prevalent, and incorrect.

A new mayor and a new chancellor may not be so quick to close schools, the Progress Report metrics may change, the words out of Tweed and Gracie Mansion may be kinder, federal laws requiring testing and state laws requiring a teacher evaluation system remain in place.

At a Wednesday night meeting of union leadership Michael Mulgrew started his comments with, “We moving from fighting to building a school system.”

Can the same teachers move from attending demonstrations and rallies, from filing grievances to trashing the mayor and Tweed and principals to sitting with a group of teachers and work on an Understanding by Design curriculum mapping plan?

Winning means taking on responsibility.

The fighting may be over, the work has just begin.