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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bloomberg & Klein Send the State Assembly A Message


Today's New York Times covers the Harlem Education Fair including School Chancellor Joel Klein's "impassioned" speech defending charter schools. Klein links the continued proliferation of charters to the renewal of mayoral control of the schools now being considered by the Assembly. The Times also confirms that PS 241 in Manhattan's District 3 will be replaced with a branch of the Eva Moskowitz charter chain, Harlem Success Academy.

What's news here is not just a new charter school opening but that the Bloomberg administration will convert a public school to a charter school without a majority vote of the parent body as required by state law. The elimination of the public school will also require the neighborhood to be rezoned to reassign children to other schools left by the gap created by 241's closure. The administration has signaled that it will not seek the approval for rezoning from Distirct 3's Community Education Council, also required by state education law.

Clearly there is a message here. It was only a few weeks ago that members of the Assembly heavily criticized both the style and substance of Klein's management of the schools at a Manhattan hearing. In fact, PS 241 sits in the district of Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, the Education Committee member who captivated the hearing audience with his incisive questioning and witty responses to the usual DOE deflections. By openly flouting the law, Bloomberg and Klein are making it clear they are above any law and will do precisely as they please.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

WALL STREET MIKE SHOULD BE THE SLOGAN THAT THE DEMOCRATS USE DURING THE MAYORAL CAMPAIGN. IT IS HIS WAY OR THE SUBWAY. HE CARES NOT FOR NEW YORKERS OR THEIR CHILDREN ONLY HIS EGO. HE CAN BE BEAT IF THE DEMOCRATS HAVE THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE TO UNITE AND FIGHT. THE SCHOOLS SHOULD BE EXPOSED BY ALL INTERESTED PARTIES IN THE SYSTEM AND IN THE KNOW.

NYC Educator said...

I'm pretty sure they've been making that clear all along, shutting parents and teachers out of every decision process, and added particular emphasis when they reversed term limits, which had been twice affirmed by city voters.

I particularly enjoyed their argument that you could always vote him out. City voters stated twice, in no uncertain terms, that they found that option unsatisfactory. It could be because, oh, maybe no one can expect a fair campaign against a billionaire with a tabloid in each pocket.

That doesn't phase this administration, though. I certainly hope there's an opponent who's willing to make that message loud and clear, and that unions like mine will take a principled stand against this mayor, unlike last time.

Patrick Sullivan said...

Anonymous - yes, he can be beaten.

NYC Ed -- While I do agree they've been making it clear all along, it is important to draw attention to their tactics. In public and private conversations, the DOE has always made it clear that much consideration is given to matching a new school to a community. Manhattan's District 3 has a highly capable CDEC and electeds who care deeply about education. It's no coincidence Tweed chose a charter operator who would go in with a confrontational approach.