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Reuters

NYC Principals Union Asks State to Takeover City Schools

The union says the Mayor has failed to lead

Brian Young's picture
Sep 28, 2020

In a stark rebuke of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leadership of the nation’s largest school district during the COVID-19 pandemic, the union that represents the principals at New York City Public schools have taken a vote of no confidence and are calling on the state to take over the school system until the pandemic is over.

The school system, which is set to reopen for in-person learning this week after two failed attempts earlier in the month, has faced criticism since it closed in March. Back then the Mayor was criticized for waiting too long to close the schools. Then he received criticism and faced a potential teachers’ strike for not spending the summer making classrooms safe for students and teachers.

The unanimous vote by the executive board of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators union (CSA) criticized de Blasio and his school's Chancellor, Richard Carranza, "due to their failure to lead New York City through the safe and successful reopening of schools.” They went on to say "CSA calls on Mayor de Blasio to cede mayoral control of the Department of Education for the remainder of this health crisis and for Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to seek the immediate intervention of the New York State Education Department.”

CSA says that there are not enough teaching personnel to staff the schools, since classroom sizes will be significantly reduced. According to the union, the 4,500 extra people that de Blasio promised to hire will only meet the needs of students in K-5, meaning the city needs to hire many more teachers for students to be in classrooms that are a safe size. In its no-confidence resolution, the union said the mayor and chancellor “have entered into grossly irresponsible staffing agreements that fail to prioritize the needs of school children and their families.”

“All summer long, we’ve been running into roadblock after roadblock, with changing guidance, confusing guidance — often no guidance," Council President Mark Cannizzaro said in a conference call with reporters.

When asked if the state is considering taking over the New York City School District, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "The data is key, and we'll act on the data. We can all agree that it’s about educating our students. We want to get them back into school, but we want to do it safely.”

The vote by CSA came over a weekend in which New York State had more than 1,000 reported COVID-19 cases for the first time since June and New York City saw their positive test rate nearly hit 2%. If that number goes above 3%, schools would be forced to close.

As of Monday, 48% of students in the New York City school system have chosen the all-remote option of learning, a slight uptick from 46% last Monday.

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