Per the dueling survey issue in New York, it seems the UFT could have just saved themselves a lot of money on their survey and asked just one question about approval/disapproval of Joel Klein. That’s all these questions — that all conspicuously mention his name — are accomplishing and they’re too smart not to know that. Punchline: Klein is not very popular right now. But, we shouldn’t forget the results of the last mayoral election there, which was in part a referendum on the schools.
More serious and longer-term issue, was Joel Klein hired to be popular or effective? The flip side of mayoral control is that it creates an incentive for superintendents to see themselves as only accountable to a constituency of one: The mayor. Why? Because as a practical matter they are. If you look at events in places like Chicago, D.C., New York, etc…you can see the upsides and the downsides of this. It lessens the pressure on leaders to really get out there and persuade and cuts a lot of folks out of the loop. That’s both good and bad and the ensuing politics are pretty obvious.