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Pro-mayoral control lobbying group adds new members

Community groups from Crown Heights, East Harlem, and the Ridgewood section of Queens are the latest to sign on with Learn NY, the group lobbying to preserve mayoral control.

The law that created mayoral control is set to expire at the end of June, and state legislators are currently grappling with whether to preserve, eliminate, or alter the school governance system. Learn NY is trying to amass a coalition to show legislators that many New Yorkers are happy with mayoral control as it currently exists.

Yesterday the group announced that the coalition now has 40 members, up from just over 30 a month ago. The new additions range in size from a single person, in the case of Demetrius Carolina, pastor of Staten Island’s First Central Baptist Church, to all of Fordham University.

One of the organizations added to the list yesterday also runs one of the nine support networks that principals can hire to provide training for teachers. Fordham University’s network currently works with 10 schools. Other coalition members, including Urban Assembly, Ghetto Film School, and the Young Women’s Leadership Network, are lead partners for DOE schools created during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. In the past, Bloomberg has been criticized for citing as backers organizations to which he or the city gives financial support.

Learn NY has solicited backers in a “grassroots” fashion since launching late last year, by reaching out to community groups and trying to sell them on Learn NY’s platform, spokeswoman Julie Wood told me. Member organizations aren’t expected to do more than let Learn NY make its case to their constituents, Wood said. The goal is for those constituents then to write their legislators or turn out at Assembly hearings on mayoral control like the one held in Manhattan last month.

Wood said the coalition is still looking for partners and would begin holding public events, rather than events just for its member organizations, in the next few weeks.“We’ll keep talking to people until the day a bill is passed,” she said.

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