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Klein: Shared decision-making is "line … we should not cross"

Ending mayoral control, or even changing it substantially, would be a “cataclysm,” Schools Chancellor Joel Klein just told members of the Assembly Education Committee at a hearing in Manhattan.

I just got a dispatch from Elizabeth, who is crammed into the hearing room where people are sitting in the aisles. She reports that James Brennan, an assembly member from Brooklyn, asked Klein if it would be a “cataclysm” if mayoral control were revised.

“I think it would be,” Klein said.

As an example of one possible revision, Brennan referred to changing the makeup of the city’s school board so that the mayor would no longer appoint a majority of members. The teachers union included this change in its school governance proposal, released earlier this week.*

Klein rejected the prospect of such an arrangement. “If we all try to do things by plebiscite and hearings, then we’re going to stymie the process,” he said. “It’s a little hard to say you’re accountable but your core initiatives can be overruled by an 8 to 7 vote.”

Moments later, Klein said about the prospect of shared decision-making:

It didn’t work in the past. It won’t work in the future. No matter how or what it is labeled, dividing decision-making is not going to be improving or tweaking mayoral control. It will end it. And that line is one we should not cross.

*Originally I wrote that Brennan referred specifically to the teachers union’s proposal. He did not.

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