Assembly hearing on mayor’s control of NYC school system in mid-December

Assembly hearing on mayor's control of NYC school system in mid-December

The New York State Assembly plans to hold a hearing in mid-December on whether mayoral control of the New York City school system should be extended or gutted when the law is up for renewal in 2022.

“There are some people who want major changes to the law,” Assembly Education Committee Chairman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) told The Post.

“We made a promise to have hearings on what school governance should look like in New York City in the future. We’re going to look at other school governance models — what other major school districts are doing.”

Mayoral school control was initially championed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and approved by the state Legislature in 2002, then renewed several times since then, including last year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also has been a big booster.

The law abolished the much-maligned old Board of Education, gave the mayor sole authority to hire the chancellor and also gave City Hall the power to pick a majority of appointments to a revamped board to set education policy — eight out of 13 members.

The move also turned the Department of Education into a city agency, and eliminated 32 locally elected community school boards, following years of mismanagement and corruption scandals.

Under the old system, the seven members of the Board of Education — five appointed by the borough presidents and two by the mayor — chose the chancellor and were in charge of policy.

Teachers’ union president Mike Mulgrew wants to strip the mayor of sole control over schools and move back to something akin to the old governance model.

“We need a change. Parents and educators need more voice. A single person in control, with few checks and balances, is not good for our school system,” Mulgrew told The Post last week.

The law expires in June of 2022, after de Blasio leaves office. That means school control will be an issue for the next mayor, who will have to negotiate extending or revise the school control law with the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Mulgrew’s plan calls for the mayor to choose five members of the Panel for Education Policy, with the remaining picks going to each of the five borough presidents, the city comptroller, the City Council speaker and the public advocate.

The members would also serve staggered, three-year terms with an option for renewal, rather than at the pleasure of whoever appointed them.

In addition, Mulgrew wants the PEP to conduct initial searches for new schools chancellors, then screen the candidates and have the mayor choose from among the top three finishers.

The mayor now selects the chancellor without getting names from the panel.

Bloomberg used the law to close low-performing schools and open more charter schools and smaller high schools. He also used his expanded powers to tighten the city’s promotional and accountable policies tied to results on standardized tests.

De Blasio used his authority under the same law to dramatically expand the city’s pre-K program, and reverse Bloomberg’s test-heavy accountability programs. He also launched a costly $773 million Renewal program to try to turn around low-performing schools instead of closing them, with mixed results.