Marcus on Tenure & Test Scores

HT Education Week

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

On NRO today, Marcus soldiers on through the endless New York test score tenure wars, reporting on a gutsball move by Mayor Bloomberg:

New York’s state legislature gave teachers a gift last year by banning the use of student test-score data in tenure decisions. Many expect the legislature to allow the law to expire next year, but Mayor Bloomberg refuses to wait. Last week, he ordered schools chancellor Joel Klein to use the data anyway, arguing that the teachers up for tenure this year were hired in 2007, and a careful reading of the law suggests it applies only to teachers hired after July 1, 2008.

I’m not a Bloomberg fan on any other issue, but on education he’s a cut above most mayors. And remember, he does this in a town with a City Council so thoroughly corrupted by the unions that legislators actually read from union cue cards during hearings.

4 Responses to Marcus on Tenure & Test Scores

  1. allen says:

    Of course not many – if any? – mayors have the influence over the public education system that Bloomberg has so he could be pretty miserable and just by not rolling over for the status quo, be better.

    I just wonder when Bloomberg, or some other mayor, will realize that education doesn’t require the sort of centralized control that makes sense for fire and police departments?

  2. Greg Forster says:

    Oh, I disagree about Bloomberg’s control over the system as compared to the control that most mayors have. While the mayor’s office is stronger in NYC than in many other cities, the public-sector unions are much stronger. Under New York law, if the city and public sector unions can’t agree on a new contract, the old one stays in force. That basically means the unions have the whiphand over the city pretty much across the board. Giuliani got all his reforms by just bribing all the unions outright to go along with him; there was no other way to do business.

    Bloomberg certainly has more at stake than most mayors in the success of his city’s schools, because he’s widely believed to be pulling all the strings, and thus the political buck stops on his desk. Too bad for him he doesn’t have the real power people think he does.

    Similarly, the desire for centralized mayoral control of schools (in NYC and elsewhere) isn’t just a function of mayors wanting more power, although it is that, too. It’s seen as the only plausible way to break the power of the unions. Decentralization (other than via school choice, including not only vouchers and charters but also the breakup of large school districts into smaller ones) almost always means the unions win.

  3. Brian says:

    Is that some more of your photoshop skills on display?

  4. Greg Forster says:

    Alas, no – see the caption: “HT Education Week.”

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