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Bloomberg Proposes Bold Changes for City Schools

A rigorous tenure review process, elimination of the regional administrative structure, empowered principals, and a new system for allocating funds among the city schools are four major education reforms that were proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his "State of the City" address yesterday. Read More...
Calls for Re-organization and A ‘Weighted’ School Funding Formula

A rigorous tenure review process, elimination of the regional administrative structure, empowered principals, and a new system for allocating funds among the city schools are four major education reforms that were proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his “State of the City” address yesterday. 

The Mayor proposed increasing autonomy for principals by eliminating the ten regional offices which he created four years ago to replace the 32 community school districts. A law suit brought by certain state legislators and parents had blocked his attempt to eliminate the 32 districts. For the past few years, the districts had co-existed with the regional structure. Now, Bloomberg is proposing to eliminate the regional structure and revert fully to the 32 district organization. Principals will be given a choice of exercising more autonomy by becoming the leader of an “empowerment” school (an option that 330 schools have already taken), reporting to the community superintendents, or “partnering” with a university or other outside organization for technical support. 

The Mayor also called for eliminating inequities in the city’s current funding allocation system, and targeting some of the anticipated additional funds flowing from the CFE litigation to schools with the greatest needs. Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director of The Campaign for Educational Equity and formerly counsel for the plaintiffs in the CFE case applauded the targeting concept but raised concerns about using what is known as the “weighted student funding” approach for doing so. “Before talking in the abstract about how to divide the money, we first need to ensure that the legislature provides a enough money to provide all students the opportunity for a sound basic education.” Rebell said. “ Then, it is important to make sure that all of the underserved schools have the basic education essentials like libraries, laboratories, books, and qualified teachers,” he explained. 

Another proposed reform that has drawn some critical comments from the United Federation of Teachers is the Mayor’s call for a more rigorous tenure review process for probationary teachers.  The Mayor hopes to attract and retain quality teachers and provide rewards for excellent teaching.  “[W]e must also make sure that ineffective teachers are not awarded the privilege of tenure and the near-lifetime job security that comes with it,” states Bloomberg. 

Further details about all of these proposals are expected to be announced next month.

A full copy of the Mayor’s speech can be found at www.nyc.gov

Published Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007

Bloomberg Proposes Bold Changes for City Schools

Calls for Re-organization and A ‘Weighted’ School Funding Formula

A rigorous tenure review process, elimination of the regional administrative structure, empowered principals, and a new system for allocating funds among the city schools are four major education reforms that were proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his “State of the City” address yesterday. 

The Mayor proposed increasing autonomy for principals by eliminating the ten regional offices which he created four years ago to replace the 32 community school districts. A law suit brought by certain state legislators and parents had blocked his attempt to eliminate the 32 districts. For the past few years, the districts had co-existed with the regional structure. Now, Bloomberg is proposing to eliminate the regional structure and revert fully to the 32 district organization. Principals will be given a choice of exercising more autonomy by becoming the leader of an “empowerment” school (an option that 330 schools have already taken), reporting to the community superintendents, or “partnering” with a university or other outside organization for technical support. 

The Mayor also called for eliminating inequities in the city’s current funding allocation system, and targeting some of the anticipated additional funds flowing from the CFE litigation to schools with the greatest needs. Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director of The Campaign for Educational Equity and formerly counsel for the plaintiffs in the CFE case applauded the targeting concept but raised concerns about using what is known as the “weighted student funding” approach for doing so. “Before talking in the abstract about how to divide the money, we first need to ensure that the legislature provides a enough money to provide all students the opportunity for a sound basic education.” Rebell said. “ Then, it is important to make sure that all of the underserved schools have the basic education essentials like libraries, laboratories, books, and qualified teachers,” he explained. 

Another proposed reform that has drawn some critical comments from the United Federation of Teachers is the Mayor’s call for a more rigorous tenure review process for probationary teachers.  The Mayor hopes to attract and retain quality teachers and provide rewards for excellent teaching.  “[W]e must also make sure that ineffective teachers are not awarded the privilege of tenure and the near-lifetime job security that comes with it,” states Bloomberg. 

Further details about all of these proposals are expected to be announced next month.

A full copy of the Mayor’s speech can be found at www.nyc.gov

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