01-16-2013 08:58 AM #1
Christine Quinn Presents Vision for Improving New York City Schools
From N.Y. Times by Kate Taylor:
Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker and a presumptive candidate for mayor, laid out in a speech on Tuesday a series of proposals for improving the city’s schools, which included replacing textbooks with computer tablets, creating online resources for parents and extending the school day for many students.
Ms. Quinn, an ally of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who is also courting his frequent nemesis, the United Federation of Teachers, in the mayoral campaign, seemed to be trying to walk a middle ground in the speech. She proposed reducing the emphasis on testing and taking a less punitive approach to struggling schools — two contentious features of Mr. Bloomberg’s approach — while also suggesting that she would leave many his policies intact.
“Instead of treating school closing like a goal in and of itself, we should see it as an ultimate last resort when all else has failed,” Ms. Quinn said, referring to Mr. Bloomberg’s policy of closing low-performing schools and replacing them with new ones. “And we should make fixing schools not just the responsibility of the principal and the teacher, but of all of city government and the entire community.”
On another divisive issue, asked if she would push for a broad expansion of charter schools, Ms. Quinn said that she supported them but that they were at “a good level” right now.
Mr. Bloomberg has successfully lobbied the Legislature for a new teacher evaluation system that, among other changes, gives school administrators more power to dismiss teachers who are repeatedly rated ineffective. On Thursday, the city is facing a deadline for reaching an agreement with the union on the details of how the evaluation system will be carried out in New York City; it could lose up to $450 million in state funds if it misses that deadline.
Ms. Quinn was silent on whether she would use that greater power to dismiss ineffective teachers, while urging Mr. Bloomberg and the teachers to come to an agreement.
“Let’s get a deal,” she said. “This is simply too important for our children and our city.”