Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s task-force on mayoral control
of the public school system is getting ready to wrap up its work.
From all indications, it seems as if this special committee will
offer a compromise solution, one in which the mayor is likely
to gain more power within the context of a slightly reformed Board
Of course, this is unfortunate for the Mayor, who has said repeatedly
that he wants to have full control of the schools in the context
of an abolished Board of Education. But Mike Bloomberg’s desires
and wishes aren’t the only things to suffer as a result of Albany’s
fear of reform. In fact, the biggest victims may end up being
the hopes and dreams of the more than one million children enrolled
in New York City’s public education system.
Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, everyone knows that
our public schools are in deep, deep trouble. Last year, three
out of four kids in the public schools failed to meet the state’s
minimum standards for reading and math. How much longer do we
have to wait before Albany finally gets the message that we need
real reform now? Is it reasonable to expect that New York City
will continue to be the “Capitol of the World” if the vast majority
of its citizens can’t read or calculate?
As both a graduate of and a former teacher in New York City’s
public schools, I know that we are running out of time before
we reach the point when it will no longer be possible to save
our schools and, by extension, save our city. All the signs coming
from Albany today point toward a compromise solution, one that
will probably involve an expanded Board of Education with the
lion’s share of appointments being left to the Mayor. While such
a proposal holds some potential for improvement, it is still a
far cry from what we need in order to raise standards, enhance
performance, and enforce accountability.
School reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue.
Partisan bickering in a time of crisis will only lead to further
deterioration for our schools and for our children’s prospects.
For the sake of our children’s future and for the future of New
York City, let’s hope Albany can find the courage to overcome
its fear of radical reform and clear the way for the kind of changes
that are desperately required to save public education.#
Moskowitz is the Chair of the Education Committee in the NYC Council.
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of
the publisher. © 2001.