This issue deserves a longer post by me, since my first book in 1974 was a history of the New York City public schools.
Mayors have always had a large measure of control over the city’s public schools, but only under Mayor Bloomberg did the mayor take control of appointing the superintendent/chancellor and direct every aspect of the system. Bloomberg used his power without checks/balances to close scores of schools, to fire principals, and to disrupt every aspect of the system, while expanding the public relations staff and making unsubstantiated claims of success. Bloomberg trumpeted the success of authoritarian, top-down control, absent any democratic voice. When his appointed board members dared to disagree with him, he fired them.
The public continues to think there should be meaningful democratic input into the decisions about their public schools.
Leonie Haimson sent out this summary from the Quinnipiac polling service:
Three Quinnipiac University polls over the last two years show New York City voters oppose by wide margins mayoral control of the public schools.
The independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll asks, “Do you think the mayor should retain complete control of the public schools or share control of the public schools with other elected leaders?”
Opposition to mayoral control is more than 2-1, even topping 3 – 1, in each of three surveys:
May 12, 2015 – Opposed 60 – 28 percent;
August 2, 2016 – Opposed 65 – 23 percent;
May 18, 2017 – Opposed 68 – 21 percent.
“The pundits and the experts may believe that mayoral control of the public schools is the best way to proceed, but they haven’t convinced the people,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
In each survey cited, Quinnipiac University surveyed more than 960 New York City voters with margins of error that were less than +/- 3.3 percentage points. The surveys were conducted by live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys nationwide and in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado as a public service and for research.
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