He shares the mayor's background as a tech entrepreneur, but there are some differences between candidate Jack Hidary and Michael Bloomberg.
For starters, Hidary does not have a college degree. A self-made entrepreneur, Hidary attended Columbia University and studied philosophy and neuroscience but left school to complete a fellowship in clinical neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health. He never graduated from Columbia or anywhere else, according to a spokesman for his campaign.
The businessman also told GothamSchools that he would charge charter schools fees to use space in district school buildings, a move that would reverse Bloomberg's policy of letting the schools operate rent-free in public space.
Charter advocates say that to charge rent would cripple charter schools' ability to serve students, but critics say space-sharing causes overcrowding and tension inside school buildings.
"Charter co-location should continue as long as a reasonable cost is charged to such charters for co-location fees," Hidary said. "These fees can be phased in over the next few years to address any budget issues between public schools and charter schools."
Hidary, who has raised more than $430,000 since entering the mayoral race in June, recently completed a GothamSchools questionnaire about how he would run the city's schools with answers that ranged from vague to decisive.
Mayor Bloomberg's latest appointments to the Panel for Educational Policy are two men with ties to charter schools that have faced panel votes.
The appointments — made without fanfare — are drawing criticism from other panel members and critics of the panel, who say the new appointees' interests make them unable to assess proposed policies fairly. A proposal involving Success Academy Charter Schools, which one of the new board members has represented in legal proceedings, is up for a vote at tonight's panel meeting.
Last month, Joseph Lewis, Jr., was appointed to replace Rosemarie Maldonado, an administrator at John Jay College who had been on the panel since last July. According to his biography on the PEP website, Lewis attended New York City schools; has served on the board of Leadership Prep Charter School; and is currently on the boards of several other education organizations, including NYCAN, a group that has advocated for public school parents to be able to turn their schools into charter schools.
The other new appointee is David Brown, an attorney who works at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP. While he mostly focuses on business litigation, according to the firm's website, he also does pro bono work for nonprofit clients, including the charter school network that most often seeks space in city school buildings.
Most education policy wonks in the city are focused on 2013, when New Yorkers will elect a replacement for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But in a new report, a teacher advocacy group suggests that 2015 might be more important.
That's when mayoral control, the city's school governance system since 2003, is set to expire. Bloomberg convinced lawmakers to grant him control over the city's schools early in his tenure, but they built a sunset clause into the law so they would have to reconsider the governance structure every six years.
By the time of the first sunset in 2009, criticism that Bloomberg's school policies had marginalized communities had grown loud enough to derail a first effort to renew the governance law by the June 30 deadline. Mayoral control technically ended then, although a hastily constituted Board of Education effectively extended it in a nine-minute meeting, its first in six years. But lawmakers reinstated the law, with some tweaks, a month later. It is next due to sunset on June 30, 2015.
Teachers Unite, a group that emphasizes social justice in education, wants to start laying the groundwork for a post-mayoral control future now.
Tom Allon speaks about education policy at the New School near Union Square.
Upper West Sider and mayoral hopeful Tom Allon would oppose testing in elementary schools — even though the state, not the city, sets the testing schedule.
That was one of several policy positions he outlined for a sparse crowd of principals, campaign volunteers, and teachers’ union leader Michael Mulgrew yesterday evening who gathered to hear his first policy speech about education.
Allon, a former teacher and political outsider, said he wants to be the “education mayor” — a mantle Bloomberg sought early in his administration. Allon briefly taught English and journalism at his alma mater, Stuyvesant High School; aided city officials in the creation two small high schools in Manhattan; and sent three daughters to public schools.
The speech itself contained few hard proposals but instead focused on challenges facing the school system and a handful of small-scale solutions that are already in place, such as teacher mentoring programs that the UFT runs.
It was when audience members pressed Allon for specifics that he offered ideas of what an Allon administration might look like. (His five likely competitors in the Democratic primary have also started to stake out their education platforms, but none has yet delivered a policy address on the subject.)
Like Mayor Bloomberg, he would favor mayoral control and school choice. But like some of Bloomberg's fiercest critics, he would slash the Department of Education's central bureaucracy and reduce the emphasis on standardized testing.
And on some issues, he would strike out for a middle ground.