NEW YORK—Mayoral control over schools will be a hot button issue in 2013 as it comes under scrutiny leading up to the citywide elections.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has implemented vast reforms over the school system; some people say he has improved the system while others contend he has too much control.
A shift to Common Core, a framework from the federal government that is said to raise standards, has further displeased some teachers and parents, as well as students, who see the shift as negatively increasing the focus on tests and test scores.
The increase in charter schools in the city is another divisive issue, with some saying they don’t serve enough students who have learning disabilities or whose first language is not English. Proponents say they allow more flexibility in curriculum design and enable tweaks such as extending the school day. Either way, the New York City Charter School Center estimates that one out of every ten students will be enrolled in a charter school by fall 2017.
Meanwhile, the city and the teacher’s union under the federal Race to the Top program is due to make a teacher evaluation deal by Jan. 17. The $250-$300 million at stake would cause cuts to areas such as after-school programs, according to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, though the teacher’s union and some teachers say the money is only a fraction of the $24 billion annual budget and holding out for a good evaluation deal is more important.
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