Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Parents Vote NO on Mayoral Control As Is in Latest Marist Poll

Polls being what they are, and this one appearing to be drawn from a rather small sample size (N=741, with 548 being registered voters) that gives sub-group breakdowns even larger margins of error, the latest Marist Poll still suggests several fascinating results. First, despite the Mayor's and Chancellor's never-ending drumbeat about racial performance gaps and education as a civil right, it's African American (64%) and Latino (74%!!) respondents who want schools out of the Mayor's hands. Among Whites, only 50% preferred an appointed citywide panel (PEP).

In addition, the Mayor's and Chancellor's overwhelming focus on Manhattan (look at Harlem, for example), to the detriment of the other four boroughs seems to be having a similar effect. Manhattanites are least interested in a strengthened PEP at 54%, with Queens respondents at 58%, Staten Islanders at 60%, and Brooklyn and Bronx respondents at 65% and 66%, respectively. Interesting as well that a higher percentage of moms (Women) than dads (Men) opt for taking schools out of the Mayor's hands, by a 64% to 56% margin.

Also, the largest differential in responses came by age group (under 45 versus 45 or older). Those under 45, the age group most likely to include public school parents or parents facing the prospect of putting their children into the system, voiced 73% (!!) support for lessening the Mayor's control in favor of a legitimately-
empowered PEP. Only 51% of those over age 45 did so, but they represent the population least likely to be intimately connected to schools and most prone to basing their knowledge on what they read in the newspapers (all ridiculously pro-Mayoral control) or hear in advertisements (all bought and paid for by and/or through the Mayor's and DOE's P.R. machine).

Not surprisingly, when parents (who obviously have most at stake concerning public education) were separated from the rest of the respondents, a full 67% of them favored putting school control in "an appointed citywide Panel on Education Policy." We can all rest assured they were contemplating a newly-empowered PEP, and not the Panel of Eight Puppets (plus Patrick Sullivan) now pointlessly in place.

Shelly Silver and Christine Quinn -- we hope you're paying attention!

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