Mayoral control of New York City public schools is on the cusp of extinction: If the Legislature weakens it any more this year, the United Federation of Teachers will effectively be calling the shots.
The UFT is already all too close, having used its vast power in Albany to water down the mayor’s power in the Panel for Educational Policy (which officially controls the city Department of Education) two years ago — while also passing an NYC-only “class size” law that basically forces the city to spend an added $2 billion a year on more teachers despite declining enrollment.
The Legislature also only renewed the law for just two years setting it up to further undermine the mayor this year.
And the fix is in: The 2022 renewal also ordered the State Education Department to review mayoral control and recommend changes — and the SED, as we’ve warned for years now, is firmly in the tank for the teachers unions.
If lawmakers fail to act, the city suddenly defaults to the old Board of Education governance rules — guaranteeing both a chaotic transition and de-facto UFT rule.
Thanks to lawmakers like Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens), renewing this law has become a regular means for the Legislature to make NYC mayors come begging — and now an exercise in rewarding the UFT for its campaign donations and political support.
Albany needs to quit micromanaging city public schools and let Mayor Adams and Chancellor David Banks focus on what’s in the best interest of children — not the adult special interests that feed off the DOE.
Maybe now that she’s not facing election, Gov. Hochul can truly have Mayor Adams’ back this time and power his effort to make mayoral control stronger and longer term — ideally, permanent.