Union Money vs. the Mayor's Money
April 27th, 2009

The New York Post today highlights the links between the United Federation of Teachers and various groups advocating changes in the current system of mayoral control of city schools. The Post, which has emerged as a champion of the current system, zeroes in on the Campaign for Better Schools, spearheaded by the Alliance for Quality Education, which according to the Post, received about $800,000 last year from the state teacher’s union. Other groups in the coalition, including ACORN, reportedly also received money from the union.

We have no reason to question the Post’s numbers — but the paper provides only part of the story. The campaign on the other side — advocating at most minimal adjustments to the mayor’s firm grip on city schools — is led by recipients of the city’s and the mayor’s generosity. Public Eyes on Public Education looked at Learn NY, a coalition supporting mayoral control, and found “nearly one third of the companies and nonprofits that are members of the grassroots organization … have received no-bid contracts from the Department of Education since Mayor Bloomberg took control of New York City schools in 2002.”

Although executive director Peter Hatch denied the organization had received any money directly from Bloomberg, those involved with it have, according to Public Eyes and other sources. For example Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children’s Zone and a co-founder of Learn NY, reportedly has accepted more than $500,000 directly from Bloomberg. His organization has received close to $388 million in competitively bid contracts from the city and education department and a $2.2 million no-bid contract in 2008, according to Public Eyes. Good Shepherd Services, whose executive director, Sister Paulette LoMonaco, also helped found Learn NY, received eight no-bid contracts in the past five years worth a total of almost $3.8million.

While the teachers union has resources at its disposal, the mayor’s side has enlisted lobbyists in its cause as well. According to The Daily Politics, Learn NY has hired MirRam’s Roberto Ramirez (the former Bronx Democratic Party chief) and the Albany firm of Brown, McMahon & Weinraub, as well as Global Strategy Group. The education department has signed up Micah Lasher as a lobbyist on mayoral control, and the mayor has sent so many people to prowl the capitol corridors in his behalf that one observer joked that every legislator could soon have his or her own person full-time mayoral lobbyist.

The deadline for renewal of the law is only two month away. For more on the issues involved see The Mayor’s High Stakes Test.

By on April 27, 2009, 3:50 pm
In category: Albany,Education,Eye on Albany | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Union Money vs. the Mayor's Money”

  1. Gail Robinson Says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    April Humphrey of the Alliance for Quality Education sent the following comment in response to this post:

    As we told the Post, AQE has not received any funding from the UFT for our work on mayoral control. AQE has a close working relationship with the UFT, but we
    have worked separately on this issue developing our recommendations independently. The fact that our recommendations seemed similar to the Post is merely a reflection of the fact that teachers and parents have many of the same concerns and issues with the system as it is now. But all the funding for our mayoral control work has come from foundations.

  2. prom gowns Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 2:06 am

    really true,i agree!

  3. Lisha Krivanek Says:
    February 1st, 2012 at 6:55 pm

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