A coalition of progressive groups has become so fed up with the current discussion on school governance that it is asking for a new discussion altogether. The group wants a commission that would take a slow and steady year or year-and-a-half to think deeply about how the public schools are run — and then write a detailed strategic plan outlining what should be changed.
The idea is to expand the current debate to include more people and a broader focus. “Right now, the governance question is a question only a political hack can love,” said Cecilia Blewer, a member of the group who is a former community school board member. “It’s really, like, who has the money, who has the power over the money. Real responsible good governance is asking much deeper questions than that.”
The commission Blewer’s group is asking for would begin immediately and would, if necessary, proceed beyond the June date when the current mayoral control law sunsets. “We’re saying, ‘Okay, tinker with the system, do a little quick fix, that’s what’s coming down anyway. Fine, do it. But then do this for the long term,'” Blewer said.
The goals are outlined in a flier the group will hand out at tomorrow’s Manhattan governance hearing. Online petitions to sign onto the idea are available here. Members of the group include the Center for Immigrant Families, Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Coalition to Save Harlem, Time Out From Testing, and a slew of other progressive groups.
Their petition stresses that the commission members would be parents, teachers, students, and community leaders selected to reflect the city’s diversity.