Unions, Eric Adams demonstrate for mayoral control of NYC public schools

Mayor Eric Adams renewed his push to expand civil control over New York City’s public schools during a rally with some union leaders Monday.

“After two years of trauma for our students, insecurity cannot be part of the curriculum,” Adams said on the steps of City Hall.

“It takes stability and the assurance that these young people know what’s going to happen in the upcoming school year.”

Since taking office, Adams has urged Albany to expand power and give him “mayoral responsibility” for public education in the Big Apple.

The mayor was joined on Monday by school chancellor David Banks and some union officials – although the United Federation of Teachers was noticeably absent.

A spokesman for the union, which represents teachers in the city’s public schools, told The Post: “While we support mayoral oversight, we have repeatedly called for more oversight and counterbalance and greater parental involvement.”

Adams and his supporters pointed to achievements under mayoral control, from universal preschool education to higher graduation rates — and cautioned against the alternative of returning to decentralized school boards.

Mayor Eric Adams Holds Mayoral Accountability Rally.
Mayor Eric Adams called for more civic control over New York City’s public schools at a rally Monday on the steps of City Hall.
New York Mayor’s Office

“I remember the system as it was and it was a system that was riddled with political corruption,” Banks said at the rally. “That’s why we went to mayoral accountability — the old system didn’t work.”

Some education leaders have been reluctant to support a renewal of mayoral control in its current form, calling for changes that would go further to share decision-making.

Lawmakers have told the Post that there are several options on the table to streamline the current approach. These include extending mayoral control for several years or less, or changing the composition or rules of the Education Policy Board to give it more autonomy in responding to the mayor.

Stuyvesant High School students leave school after classes close for the week, March 13, 2020, in New York.
Adams argued that mayoral control would “ensure stability and reassurance that these young people know what’s going to happen in the coming school year.”
AP/Bebeto Matthews

Two policies from the Adams administration have so far failed before the 15-member panel, though the mayor picked nine of the appointments. One of the spots has been vacant since an Adams pick with a history of anti-LGBT writing resigned in March. The city reviews the candidates.

“We want to do it right,” Adams said Monday. “We are excited to see some of the candidates who are in the queue,” added the Chancellor, who could make an announcement in the coming days.

The rally was postponed from last week when Adams missed the previously scheduled event during a campaign-sponsored trip to Los Angeles.

The mayor was also scheduled to travel to Albany this week to push for mayoral scrutiny, but told reporters the trip would take place over the next few weeks instead.

“It’s all about the planning. We’d like to get up there as soon as possible,” he said.

The session of the state legislature ends in June, when the mayor control law also expires.

Still, Hizzoner remained optimistic about the future of the measure, which has the vocal support of Gov. Kathy Hochul. Hochul tried to include it in the state budget, but it was left out of the final $220 billion version last month.

“We believe the legislature is on our side, we believe the union leadership is on our side, we believe the parents are on our side,” Adams said. “And every time we walk into a school and the kids say Eric and David are taking the mayoral responsibilities, we think the kids are on our side.” Unions, Eric Adams demonstrate for mayoral control of NYC public schools


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