Ensure that the policies of the Board of Education, the Chancellor and the central administration are fully subject to state and city law. No other governmental agency considers itself free from legal constraints. There is a long list of both state and city laws that the New York City Department of Education routinely violates. The Chancellor and the Board of Education must comply with laws passed by the City Council or State Legislature that apply to education policy or practices, contracting, or other governmental actions.
Key Recommendations on Accountability and Checks & Balances
➢ An Independent Accountability Office to produce regular reports on educational outcomes, with full access to the data.
➢ An Inspector Generalto investigate and report to the public any case of malfeasance, corruption, or mismanagement of school system employees, including those at the top.
➢ An Ombudspersonto address and resolve parental complaints, and to provide the Board and the Chancellor recommendations on how services, policies, or procedures affecting parents and their children should be improved.
Mayoral control was based in large part on a promise of greater accountability. Instead, by acting as though they had unlimited power, the Mayor and Chancellor have been answerable to no one.
As parents, we recommend a governance system distinguished by an educational partnership that includes the Mayor, a Board of Education whose members will strive toward cohesion and consensus, and new independent oversight agencies to verify financial and academic outcomes, investigate corruption, and respond to parental complaints.
Establish a more independent and responsive Board of Education. The Board shall consist of 15 members, each with fixed terms. One seat will be reserved for a parent of a special education student. Five parent members will be elected directly by the members of the Community Education Councils, each member representing a discrete geographical area roughly equal in size in terms of its student population. All 6 must be parents of students currently in the public school system, or who have been in the system in the last five years.
There will also be 3 Board members appointed by the Mayor, 1 appointed by the Public Advocate, and 1 by the City Council. The Board will also choose 4 additional members to fill a need for expertise in specific policy areas —for example, the needs of English Language Learners or high school students. Our expectation is that the collaborative process of selecting new members will encourage greater cohesion, as well as a decision-making process based more on experience and research than fads or political sound-bites.
Require that the Chancellor be an experienced educator, appointed by the Mayor from three candidates nominated by the Board, with no waivers allowed.The Board will elect its own Chair from among its members, to run the monthly meetings. Every major policy and budget initiative must be approved with two months' notice, so that civic organizations, parent and advocacy groups, and Community Education Councils have the opportunity to analyze new initiatives and provide their views in advance.
Create new offices to enhance transparency and accountability, each staffed and financed through a dedicated source of public funding.