The Legislature last week put a new spin on the debate over “mayoral control” of New York City’s schools by shackling the Big Apple with a costly class-size mandate. That restriction will impose on the city an unproven education reform whose primary champion is also its most direct beneficiary, the United Federation of Teachers, the union representing the city’s public-school teachers.
The bill was introduced by Senate Education Committee Chairman John Liu (D-Queens) the last week of the Legislative session and passed shortly before lawmakers decamped from Albany — the Assembly vote took place just after midnight. The bill’s adoption came just as the final New York City budget talks were heating up — specifically over funding cuts for schools set to occur under a formula that ties dollars to enrollment.
The state’s class-size mandate was paired with a bill granting Mayor Adams a limited, two-year extension of mayoral control over city schools. That control is viewed primarily as the ability to choose the school chancellor and appoint most members of the panel overseeing broad education policy in the system.