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UFT Wants to Lessen Bloomberg's School Control

The New York Times reports on the United Federation of Teachers, which is proposing to limit the number of positions on the Panel for Education, the 13-member body that approves standards, policies, objectives, and regulations for the 1 million-student school system.

This panel, the story says, is viewed as a "rubber stamp" for N.Y.C. Mayor Bloomberg, so reducing the number of appointees would likely curtail (or at least delay) his ability to set policy. The move is also a precursor to the debate that will take place in Albany as lawmakers review the 2002 law that charged Bloomberg with overseeing the schools in the first place.

As the mayor-control-in-education phenomenon grows longer legs, expect similar pushback in other places where mayors are shaking things up, sometimes to the chagrin of teachers, unions, parents, and administrators.

In the District of Columbia, for instance, Vincent Gray, the chairman of the council that gave schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee increased say over central-office hiring and firing, has been holding hearings about a number of her school reform policies, such as the 90-day improvement plans she put into place after contract negotiations stalled. Rhee was handpicked by Mayor Adrian Fenty for the top schools job.

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