New York City’s public schools are controlled by the mayor. For most of the twentieth century, the schools were managed by a Board of Education, whose members were appointed by a combination of the mayor and the borough presidents and sometimes other officials (NYC has five boroughs). When billionaire Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor in 2001, he asked the legislature to turn the entire school system into a Department of city government, like the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Sanitation Department. The mayor is solely in charge of choosing the members of the school board and hiring the system’s chancellor. (Personally, I have come to believe it is a very bad arrangement because the mayor has so many other responsibilities.)

So, it matters a lot–for the families and 1.1 million students enrolled in the public schools–who will be mayor and what his/her plans are for the schools.

Leonie Haimson, who leads Class Size Matters, has compiled a brief summary of each candidate’s views on education. You will notice that none of the candidates is proposing an end to mayoral control, though some apparently believe that parents and students should have some voice.