At today's Senate hearings on Mayoral control, most of those who invited to speak said they supported Mayoral control without reservations or much analysis, only that things are less chaotic now. Here were the witnesses:
|Chancellor Farina and Ursalina Ramirez|
Tenicka Boyd, StudentsFirstNY
Teresa Arboleda, ECC
Ellen McHugh, CCSE
Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union
3 Charter school principals
Kathy Wylde, NYC Partnership
Marcus Winters, Manhattan Institute
Leonie Haimson, CSM
Laura Altschuler, League of Woman Voters
Richard Kahan, Urban Assembly
Dennis Walcott (he was originally scheduled 2nd, but had to leave and then returned)
Senator Felder asked if the Mayor had met with Flanagan. Chancellor Farina said she didn't know. Senator Peralta asked if it was true that the Panel on Educational Policy was a rubber stamp and had never turned down a contract. Ursalina Ramirez, the DOE COO, said five times - four revisions and once rejected, but I think she was referring to co-locations, not contracts. I've asked past and current PEP members and they've said they know of no contract that the Panel has ever turned down.
|Standing room only at the hearings today (see Walcott standing?)|
She said she told CECs to deal with diversity (!!) and David Goldsmith of CEC 13 has done a great job. Senator Golden asked about school overcrowding, and the Chancellor said that there are siting problems and that there should be some sort of committee formed.
Senators asked the Chancellor if she had any proposals for improvements to the governance system, which she didn't. Instead she spoke about changes to teacher certification. A few witnesses suggested tweaks to the PEP and the authority of the CECs, including the CSA (Principals Union) and the ECC (Consortium of CECs).
In response to Senator Perkins' insistent questions about charters, Farina said they are working with charters to spread their best practices to public schools, including Uncommon Charters which uses Relay to train their principals and teachers with good results (like the highest suspension rates in the city?)
The charter school principals then complained bitterly about how they had been unfairly denied space and resources, including the principal of Girls Prep who bewailed the fact that she had not been provided space for a band (!!). Another charter principal, either from Success or Coney Island Prep, said though he believes in Mayoral control, de Blasio doesn't deserve it.
|Me giving my spellbinding testimony|
My testimony is below. I added a comment about how more parents should have been allowed to testify. The high point of the hearings for me was when Sen. Felder said the KidsPAC report card we released yesterday looked good. Take a look! - Leonie Haimson