Over the course of the campaign, de Blasio made some of his own educational priorities clear: universal pre-K, a plan to charge well-financed charter school networks to operate in public space, a moratorium on school closures, and the elimination of the school letter-grade system.
More broadly, James said she and the mayor-elect agree on the need for “a more comprehensive idea of education,” meaning more resources for schools, smaller class sizes, and what she termed “disbanding standardized testing.”
The desire to de-emphasize testing is why she said she would be consulting Carmen Farina, the former second-in-command at the Department of Education who later criticized the use of test scores to measure schools, during her transition. (Farina, whose name has been floated as a possible chancellor, has been informally advising the de Blasio campaign.)
If charter school advocates are hopeful that de Blasio can be swayed toward more pro-charter positions as the governing process begins, they definitely won’t find such flexibility from James. She speaks of “charter schools” and “public schools” as separate entities, and repeatedly referred to what the money the city spent supporting charter schools could do for other parts of the school system.
“I don’t think, in terms of education, we diverge on much of anything,” James said, referring to de Blasio.
The standardized testing and teacher evaluation problem cannot be solved by a de Blasio administration looking to de-emphasize standardized testing.
But couple a de Blasio administration looking to de-emphasize testing along with the ongoing parent revolt around the state over the state education reform agenda, the Common Core, the data collection, et al. and we could actually see some real and positive change in the public education system here in NYC.
We'll see - I'm still waiting for the hedge fundies and edu-entrepreneurs to parachute in with suitcases full of cash for anyone in power willing to continue the ed deform status quo.
Let's see what happens after that.
Still, good to hear James continue to talk tough on corporate deform.
She put Reshma Saujani on her transition team, but she hasn't started parroting Saujani's DFER rhetoric.