Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Joel Klein's Mayoral Control of Schools Update

Educators in New York City and beyond have been following the news around what is taking place in Albany as the gridlocked Senate failed to take up a bill to reauthorize mayoral control of the public school system. Today School Chancellor Joel Klein spoke to his staff and shared this email about where the NYC DOE currently stands.

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure you have been following the events in Albany and have many questions about the future of our school system. While we obviously have many questions, we cannot put the education of New York City’s students at risk because of Albany’s inaction on mayoral control of the public schools. In this e-mail, I will outline what we know and what we don’t know.
  • Community Education Councils: The 2002 law that put the New York City mayor in charge of the City’s public schools expired yesterday. This same law also created the Community Education Councils and the Citywide Council on Special Education. Since the law has expired, these education councils no longer formally exist. However, I am urging the Community Education Councils and the Citywide Council on Special Education, as well as the Citywide Council on High Schools, to continue meeting, at least until September when we hope to have more clarity. During this time, we will continue to support their administrative assistants. If the Councils decide not to continue their work, we’ve asked them to notify us immediately.
  • Panel for Educational Policy: The Panel for Educational Policy also ceases to exist today. The borough presidents and the Mayor have reconstituted the Board of Education to replace the Panel for Educational Policy.
  • Board of Education: The newly reconstituted Board of Education met at Tweed Courthouse this afternoon. It approved two resolutions:
    -First, the Board appointed me to continue serving as chancellor and delegated to me all of the powers that can be delegated under the law. This allows us to maintain continuity in our school system.
    -Second, noting that the State Assembly had adopted Assembly Bill no. 8903-a, which would extend Mayoral Control until 2015, while the State Senate had failed to act on an identical bill, Senate Bill no. S5887, the Board urged the State Senate to take immediate action to enact S5887.
  • Summer School: Summer school started today, as planned. School staff is expected to report to work as usual and serve our schoolchildren.
  • Support: Our central and field operations also remain in place and continue to support schools. This means School Support Organizations, Integrated Service Centers, and central staff are continuing to fulfill their responsibilities. We have instructed principals to call their SSOs and ISCs with any questions about the current situation or any regular issue related to school operations.
We have made great strides over the past seven years, and, together, we have implemented significant reforms that have improved the City’s public schools and our students’ academic results. I know we are working in an environment of uncertainty and that we all have many questions. I will work to keep you updated as we move through this period. I thank you all for your continued efforts to serve the students of New York City to the best of your ability, even during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Joel I. Klein
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