The election of Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York is a “major setback” for the polices of Mike Bloomberg and George W. Bush says author/Brooklyn Heights resident Diane Ravitch in a new blog post. Saying that, de Blasio “understands the failure of the Bloomberg education policies,” she outlines 5 things the new mayor should do to make schools better.
First, he must restore the contiguous community school districts, each of which has a superintendent to oversee the condition and progress of the schools.
Second, the restoration of neighborhood schools would eliminate the byzantine “choice” process that Bloomberg initiated, whereby parents of children applying to middle school and high school visited schools, listed a dozen choices, and hoped for the best.
Third, de Blasio should assemble a team of expert educators—recruited from the ranks of the city’s most respected retired educators—who will take on a double assignment.
Fourth, de Blasio should follow through on his campaign promise to set higher expectations for the city’s charter sector. The policy of co-location does not work.
Fifth, and far from last, the new mayor should de-emphasize testing and accountability.
Ravitch adds that the key to success is finding a chancellor who agrees with de Blasio’s vision. She says that person, “should be an experienced educator who shares the mayor’s view that the needs of children really do come first and that data are far less important than the restoration of respect for learning, respect for educators, and the realization that a new day has dawned for public education in New York City.”