Christine Quinn likes things just as they are:
City Council Speaker and Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn opposes a plan presented today by the teachers union that would undo mayoral control, a spokesperson for her campaign said this afternoon.
The United Federation of Teachers announced it would like to change the structure of the Panel for Education Policy in order to reduce the number of appointees the mayor makes the board, and to protect those appointees with fixed terms, so they cannot be replaced at will.
Quinn, who leads the other Democrats in the polls by a wide margin, "opposes this proposal," according to her consultant and spokesman Josh Isay.
The PEP is currently, by design, dominated by mayoral appointees who the mayor can replace at any time, a power Michael Bloomberg exercised in 2004 when some of his appointees opposed his plan for eliminating social promotion.
The U.F.T. proposal calls for the mayor to have five of 13 appointments, three fewer than the mayor currently gets. The other eight appointees would be made individually by the five borough presidents and three citywide lawmakers: the comptroller, public advocate and speaker of the City Council. In this proposal, the mayor would need all his appointees, plus two more for a simple majority approval.
The proposal also would limit the mayor's ability to hire a schools chancellor from among three candidates who come recommended by the PEP. Right now, the mayor can hire whoever he wants, so long as they get a waiver from the state Education Department if they do not have the requisite education background. (A waiver was granted to Cathie Black, who had no education experience, and turned out to be a bit of a disaster during her brief tenure as chancellor.)
Also, the teachers union wants to make all school closings and co-locations subject to veto from affected Community Education Councils (school boards). Right now, the councils have only an advisory role.
Quinn is closely aligned with Bloomberg, who has essentially been in a running battle with the teachers union since becoming bayor. The president of the union, Michael Mulgrew, said the proposal was not a "litmus test" for the union's endorsement. He also said it's wrong to characterize the changes as undoing mayoral control.
"These are things that are done in other cities that have mayoral control," Mulgrew said, in an interview. "We were the only school system without a check, without a check and balance."
A vote for Christine Quinn is just like a vote for Michael Bloomberg.
Quinn's policy stances are the same as Bloomberg on everything that matters.
Sure she loves 32 ounce sodas.
But on education, charter schools, co-locations, testing, and closures, Quinn's policies are Bloomberg's policies.