Mayoral Control Needs to End
At Monday’s UFT Executive Board the UFT should have adopted recommendations to end Mayoral Control of the schools. Instead, we were presented with governance proposals that added “checks and balances” to Mayoral Control.
The individual proposals were, in the main, good. But my caucus, New Action, we are opposed to Mayoral Control. We did not even join the governance committee, as the only correct result was already well-known.
And so I rose, commended the committee, and urged the body to vote no, urged the body to ask the committee to reframe their good proposals in an overall recommendation to end Mayoral Control.
But before that happened…. Michael Mulgrew gave the president’s report, and rolled in some motivation for the governance report. Up to now he’s told everyone what he thinks we should do about school governance, but with the adoption of this report he’ll be able to say what the UFT thinks we should do about school governance. He mentioned that all caucuses were represented. I shook my head no. He clarified. All caucuses were welcome to participate. I agreed. He asked all committee members to raise their hands. I noticed a MORE supporter, regular exec board guest, raised hers. I know that other MORE supporters served on the committee. He called on Emil Petromonico, Staten Island Borough Rep, Chair of the Governance Cttee, and Unity’s candidate for (I think) UFT Secretary to report. Emil ran through the 6 items plus sunset, one at a time. He explained the committee process, which began with a sort of brain-storming of what is currently not working, and quickly settled on the proposals before us (less than three months – that is quick). He discussed the item that was deleted (moratorium on school closings. We support a bill in Albany to do that. Check. Not part of school governance. Check. Can’t ban closing schools in any case – not sure I buy that last one – JD)
Then I spoke. Then a parade of Unity Caucus members responded. Michael Friedman. Michael Mendel. Sandra March. Donna Manginelli. Emil again. Maybe I’m forgetting someone. Delores Luzopone mercifully called the question (we were getting ready to), and the caucus line vote adopted the recommendations, sixty something to three.
Some later thoughts:
- One of Unity’s speakers almost got us to abstain, but the others reminded us that we could not. I’ll leave that a little cryptic. Remember though, we do believe that most of the proposals are positive.
- We often say that we do not go into negotiations with ourselves. It is true. But in this case, our proposals have been negotiated, have been compromised, before we ever sat down at the table. How can you do any give and take if you’ve already given before you start?
- Emil and Michael Mulgrew reported that the committee unanimously endorsed the recommendations. But MORE had reps on that committee. Did MORE vote to add checks and balances, and to preserve Mayoral Control?
- I spoke at least partially from notes. I didn’t stay completely on track (Mulgrew interrupted a few times, we had some back and forth, and I was a little long, so I scrapped some less important points. Had I realized there were going to be five responses, I might have relaxed and not cut points.) Anyway, I will try to type up those notes.
- The proposal goes to the Delegate Assembly tomorrow.