The Mayor’s Office released a joint-letter this morning authored by Bill de Blasio and the ex-Mayor detailing a most unlikely alliance between Rudy “Grandma Mouth” Giuliani and current Mayor Ginormous. One might wonder what on earth could bring these two together besides Satan himself? Well, apparently mayoral authority over the city’s education policies is what.
The letter is addressed to Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers, and urges them to reject proposals that would limit mayoral control which “enables the elected mayor to enact innovative new policies and make vital changes.” The dynamic duo argue that the office’s existing authority over education ensures “direct accountability.”
According to the Daily News, the letter is partially aimed at the Governor’s proposal to enact a policy in which the state would take over poorly performing schools. A 2015 report released by Cuomo’s office details “the State of New York’s Failing Schools,” 90 of which are in New York City. Both de Blasio and Giuliani imply they are concerned that if the State is allowed to take over those schools, there would not only be “blurred lines” of accountability if the schools’ performance failed to improve, but that policy changes would be less dynamic and more sluggish.
Each year mayoral control of the city’s school districts is up for review by the legislature, and in early February de Blasio publicly called on state lawmakers to establish the mayor’s authority as a permanent thing. As New York Chalkbeat pointed out: “Current law gives the mayor the power to appoint a schools chancellor, oversee the system’s $20 billion operating budget, and make decisions about how the city will try to lift student achievement across 1,600 district schools.” The law is up for review in June, and though de Blasio and Cuomo do not agree on the Governor’s proposal for state takeover of failing schools, Cuomo has voiced his support to extend mayoral authority though only for the next three years.