Teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew will urge the Department of Education to return superintendents to their districts when he testifies before the City Council tomorrow.
In the wake of new school governance legislation passed this summer, the City Council Education Committee is holding a hearing tomorrow on whether the city is complying with changes in the law. Among those changes is a revised role for superintendents and new powers for the citywide school board, which is now legally empowered to vote on certain contracts.
In draft comments released to reporters this afternoon, the United Federation of Teachers expresses “grave concern” that the DOE is ignoring what few changes were made to the law.
The UFT will argue that the city is not complying with a provision of the law that calls for superintendents to work within the districts where they are assigned, rather than in districts throughout the city. According to the union, the superintendents in districts 26 and 25, both in Queens, are still being made to answer for the performance of over a dozen schools outside of their districts. In an extreme example, the union says that all of the schools supervised by the superintendent for district 30 are outside of her district. The union’s draft statement reads:
“I wish I could say they can’t be serious, but my experience tells me otherwise. How can a superintendent supervise his own schools when given responsibility for over 15 schools in another district? … I’m here to tell you — it currently doesn’t measure up to the standards set forth in the new governance law. It doesn’t even come close.”
The UFT is also planning to criticize the DOE for limiting the Panel for Educational Policy’s access to the contracts it’s required to vote on, and to ask that PEP meetings be held in a larger venue. Its prepared statement reads:
PEP board members are called upon to pass multi-million dollar contracts — some no-bid agreements — on the basis of contract summaries without full disclosure, and with virtually no discussion or true deliberation. How do they really know what they’re voting on? Where is the rigorous policy review? All contracts were approved, even over the contentious objections of dissident PEP board members.