Analyst: Derek Kulnis. May 27 2016
As the New York state legislature finishes its work for the session ending in June, there are still a number of unresolved education issues, chief among them mayoral control of New York city schools. Mayoral control expires in June unless it is renewed and the political machinations between the mayor, the legislature, and the governor have been ongoing.
There have been two hearings in May on the issue of mayoral control; Mayor de Blasio skipped the second, contending that “substance is not the primary issue here.” Mr. de Blasio had originally asked for a seven year extension of mayoral control but was rebuffed by the legislature. Last year he was given a one year extension, which was seen by many as a humiliating political defeat.
If the mayor does not retain control of the schools then schools will revert to local control. The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed a bill that would extend mayoral control for three years, but the bill has not been taken up by the Republican-led Senate.
The legislature is also debating the relationship between teacher evaluation and test scores. Currently, as a result of legislation enacted last year, “school districts must put into place a teacher evaluation system which more heavily relies on students’ state test scores, or risk losing two years’ worth of state aid increases” according to Keshia Clukey in Politico New York. Clukey notes that many districts have yet to establish new evaluation systems, and are reluctant to do so given the fact that the law may be revised again soon.
Finally, there is a push to pass a Republican sponsored bill that $150 million education tax credit “for donations made to schools and scholarship funds,” an initiative supported by both Governor Andrew Cuomo and the senate but that was not enacted as a result of the regular budget process.
Other bills might be brought up before the end of the session as well, on topics such as school discipline and health-related education proposals.