Debate over NYC performance & Ravitch rebuttal
Not every school problem can be solved by changes in governance. But to establish accountability, transparency and the legitimacy that comes with public participation, the Legislature should act promptly to restore public oversight of public education. As we all learned in civics class, checks and balances are vital to democracy.
To the Editor:
Re “Mayor Bloomberg’s Crib Sheet” (Op-Ed, April 10):
Diane Ravitch essentially proposes an independent school board that appoints the chancellor — and a return to the bad old days when divided decision-making and a lack of accountability produced decades of failure for students, particularly the poorest in our city.
Dear Colleagues,As you know, the law granting the Mayor control of the schools expires at the end of June, and discussions about our governance structure are taking place throughout the City and the State. This is the right time to think about the past seven years—and to focus on the governance law and how it can best assure that New York City schools and students excel going forward. In that regard, a number of you have asked me about a recent Op-Ed by Diane Ravitch, which did not fully or accurately portray our record under mayoral control. I have asked the executive director of our Research and Policy Support Group, Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, to respond to the specifics in Dr. Ravitch’s presentation, and you can read her response here. It is important to correct the record so that our discussions may proceed on a firm foundation of fact.At the outset, I’d like to emphasize three points:
It seems that when the press needs to find a negative voice about
schools, you have become a pundit of choice. Your writings often echo the same themes. I agree that our record of progress is not without setbacks and I’m all for balanced reporting, but your persistently one-sided perspective and refusal to recognize the improved outcomes of students during the past six years is over the top. New York City
Consider what we’ve accomplished in the six years since Mayor Bloomberg won control of the school system:
Mayor Bloomberg’s Crib Sheet
ARNE DUNCAN, the secretary of education, has urged the nation’s mayors to take control of their public schools so that they can impose radical reforms. He points to New York City as a prime example of a school system that made sharp improvements under mayoral control.
Actually, the record on mayoral control of schools is unimpressive. Eleven big-city school districts take part in the federal test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Two of the lowest-performing cities — Chicago and Cleveland — have mayoral control. The two highest-performing cities — Austin, Tex., and Charlotte, N.C. — do not. Mr. Duncan came to New York City last week to urge the New York State Legislature to renew the law that grants control of the New York City public schools to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That law, passed in 2002, will expire at the end of June.