reshuffling the deck

New mayoral appointees join the Panel for Educational Policy

Three mayoral appointees of the Panel for Educational Policy said their goodbyes on Wednesday at an otherwise uneventful monthly meeting. Tino Hernandez, the panel chair, briefly thanked Jeff Kay, Eduardo Martí and Joan Correale for serving on the PEP at a meeting that lasted just an hour.

Milton Williams, Rosemarie Maldonado, and Jeanette Moy are replacing them on the panel, which is tasked with approving school closures, co-locations, contracts, and other school initiatives. Moy and Maldonado have worked in City Hall, but none of them appear to have close ties to the K through 12 education sector—save Maldonado, who sent her children to public school.

Since the PEP was established in 2002 with the advent of mayoral control, it has voted to approve every one of the city’s policies, even when borough president appointees to the panel, who are in the minority, oppose them. The mayoral appointees have faced criticism from educators and advocates for consistently favoring city plans, even though they seem to have little choice. In 2004 Bloomberg removed panel appointees who were planning to vote against a proposal requiring students to pass the state exams before being promoted.

City officials did not respond to questions about the reasons for the changes. One clue might be the results of a March meeting, during which contracts related to the City University of New York could not be voted on because too many mayoral appointees with ties to CUNY had to recuse themselves from voting. Martí and Correale both work for CUNY.

Jeanette Moy is the vice president of strategic planning for the Brooklyn Library, a position she has held since December 2011, according to her Linkedin profile, after years of working for City Hall. She has served as a deputy chief of staff to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a senior policy advisor with the city’s Office of Operations Customer Service Group. She has at least one direct connection to city schools: she’s an alumna of Stuyvesant High School. Moy declined to comment on her appointment.

Milton Williams, Jr. is a city attorney with the firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard who specializes in employment, entertainment and sports law. He has also worked for Time, Inc. and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Williams was not available to comment this afternoon. He is an appointee to the city’s Board of Correction.

Rosemarie Maldonado is the counsel to Jeremy Travis, the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and she also serves on the Board of Correction. She worked with Bloomberg as the deputy executive director of the mayor’s Commissioner on Hispanic Concerns, and with former Mayor Edward Koch, when she was a deputy to Travis and he was an advisor to Koch.

In an announcement posted on John Jay’s website, Maldonado said she considers the appointment “a distinct honor.”

“I know as a New York City parent that some of the most difficult decisions we make are those that affect the education of our children,” she said in the statement.

Travis said she will draw on her experience at John Jay, “observing the connections between higher education and the K-12 system.”

“The Panel for Educational Policy will benefit from her wisdom, her clear thinking, and her concern for student success as well as her experiences as a parent of children who have attended the City’s public schools,” he said in the statement.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.