who should control the schools

New York

Thompson: Let mayor keep school control, but limit his options

Comptroller Bill Thompson. (Via ##http://flickr.com/photos/azipaybarah/2376506857/##Azi's Flickr##.) As the debate over mayoral control mounted this winter, Comptroller William Thompson, himself a mayoral hopeful, conspicuously did not address the essential question of whether the mayor should control a majority of members on the city school board. Today, Thompson revealed his position: The mayor should appoint every board member — but he shouldn't have unlimited choice. Instead, according to a plan that Thompson outlined before Assembly members at a hearing on school governance in Brooklyn this morning, the mayor should select board members for two-year-long terms from a slate of candidates put forth by a 19-member "nominating committee" representing a diverse set of interests. Under the plan, the committee would be composed of Five members appointed by the Mayor; One member apiece appointed by Borough Presidents; Four parent members chosen by the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council; A teacher selected by the United Federation of Teachers; A principal chosen by the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators; A college or university president selected by the New York State Education Commissioner; A member of the business community appointed by an organized business entity selected by the Mayor; and An education school faculty member selected by the college or university president member In a statement, Thompson said the arrangement would allow the mayor to set education policy but would ensure that the perspectives of parents, teachers, and education experts are included in the decision-making process. A chief complaint of Mayor Bloomberg's control over the schools since 2002 is that those constituencies have been ignored. The man most considered most likely to join Thompson in the mayor's race (other than Bloomberg himself), Rep. Anthony Weiner, has said he supports "unfettered" mayoral control, with the mayor continuing to control most seats on the city school board. Thompson's full statement, which includes his proposals for strengthening parent involvement and monitoring education department data, is below the jump.