2003-01-18 / Front Page

Mayor To Slay School’s ‘Bureaucratic Dinosaurs’

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

The way the New York City public school system does business will change radically by September of this year, if the mayor’s promises made at the New York Urban League last Wednesday are kept.

School Districts are out. Community School Boards are out. District Superintendents are out.

In their place will be ten Learning Support Centers," each run by a superintendent. These regional superintendents will be housed at the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan.

They will each oversee 10 "Local Instructional Supervisors," who will, in turn, each oversee "no more than a dozen close-by elementary, middle and high schools through their on-site principals."

"In other words," Mayor Bloomberg says, "on the instructional side, accountability and responsibility goes directly from one Deputy Chancellor to ten Regional Superintendents, to 100 Local Instructional Supervisors, to 1,200 principals, to 80,000 teachers and then to 1,100,000 students."

In addition, the plan calls for ten operations managers, who would be housed at each of the Learning Support Centers and would handle such administrative tasks as "budgets, information technology and human resources."

Each of the schools in the city would have, in addition to the present administrative staff, an operations manager and a "Parent Engagement Specialist."

While both District Superintendent Matt Bromme and his Deputy, Marty Weinstein refused to comment on the new plan, referring The Wave to the Education Department, the President of Community School Board 27, Steve Greenberg, told us, "I certain hope this works. What really worries me more than anything is that there will be no improvement in test scores over the next few years and the Democrats will use that in the race, saying that Bloomberg has ‘failed’ in his attempt to make the schools better. Then, a Democrat will win the race and revamp the whole thing over again, giving jobs to his Democratic friends."

"There is nothing in the law to curb the Mayor’s Power, and that is disturbing," Greenberg added.

The school board president also said that the board plans to go ahead with plans to rezone Rockaway, despite the fact that his board will be dissolved in June and the district will be gone by September.

"We have to do what we have to do," he said. "We will present the best plan that we can and then see what happens."

Bloomberg said that his new plan would "take the city’s best specialists in math and reading and move them out of the district offices and put them full time where they should be: with the students in the schools, teaching."

And, despite the recent plan put forward by the City Council, Bloomberg says that he wants to replace the school board with "Parent Engagement Boards," on which only parents of children attending the local school may serve – and protected from being compromised by local politicians as they have every time in the past."

To many, that seemed to be a backhanded slap at the City Council, which recently said that it wanted council members and borough presidents to choose the parent members of the new school boards.

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