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Sinking public approval for mayor's school efforts, chancellor

Public support for Bloomberg’s school control is at its lowest point since 2003, and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s approval rating has also taken a hit, according to poll results released today.

After a month packed with contentious public hearings about Klein’s tenure as chancellor, his approval rating dropped 7 points, to 37 percent, according to a new poll out of Quinnipiac University. His approval rating is lowest among blacks, Hispanics, residents of the Bronx, and women. It’s also just four points higher than his all-time low, posted two years ago just after mid-year school bus route changes frustrated parents citywide.

Approval for how Mayor Bloomberg is handling the public schools has also dropped, to 47 percent from 50 percent a month ago, giving him the lowest approval rating on his education efforts since May 2003. Just 46 percent of New Yorkers said they thought the mayor’s takeover of the public schools has been a success. Public school parents rated the mayor the worst: Just 41 percent of them said they approved of the job he’s doing, and 54 percent said they disapproved.

The poll indicates that the public still supports the idea of mayoral control. A majority, 52 percent, said the school governance structure should continue after June 30, when the law creating it is set to expire. That figure reflects a 4-point drop since Quinnipiac began polling on the subject in January. The poll’s margin of error is about 3 points.

For the first time, the poll asked respondents about specific power-sharing arrangements that state legislators might put in place for the city schools. The City Council should share control with the mayor, said 53 percent of respondents, with much a higher proportion, two-thirds, of Bronx residents agreeing. Half of those surveyed said the mayor should share power with the borough presidents, something that no major school governance proposal has suggested.

I’ve asked the Department of Education’s press office for its take on the new poll results. I’ll add the DOE’s response when I get it.

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