Leonie Haimson needs help. New York’s most passionate education blogger has not appreciably changed the way the city’s public schools are run. A persistent critic of Mike Bloomberg’s educational policies, and president of a group called Class Size Matters, Haimson gets noticed but continues to be shrugged off by City Hall.
It doesn’t matter how many “ordinary” New Yorkers agree with Haimson. City voters have almost no power to shape municipal policy. They lost most of their clout two decades ago when they approved a new government structure that gave the mayor almost sole control over the city’s budget, land use, contracts, and, de facto, over the City Council itself. (Most Council members would deny this.)
Even a local referendum to change the city charter can be preempted by the mayor. Today, New Yorkers usually must resort to litigation or to state intervention to derail an initiative the mayor truly wants. Continue reading
Bloomberg, Black, and Klein
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s designation of Cathie Black as the next schools chancellor offends almost everyone.
To educators, Black’s lack of education credentials (like Joel Klein’s) shows Bloomberg’s basic disrespect for their profession. How would physicians react to the designation of a publishing executive as Surgeon General, or lawyers to Black’s designation as U.S. Attorney General? Continue reading
Since July, 2004, when Public Law 108-271 changed the name of the General Accounting Office to the Government Accountability Office, “accountability” has dominated discourse in our political arena.
When a disaster hits, whether it’s a construction crane collapse, a gas line explosion, an oil platform disaster, a municipal budget shortfall, or the perceived failure of the nation’s educational system, editorial writers, politicians, and pundits pile on, demanding “accountability.” Continue reading