The Not-So-Public Part of the Public Schools: Lack of Accountability

Samuel Freedman:

WHEN Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein gained unprecedented power over the vast archipelago of public education in New York more than four years ago, they were the beneficiaries of three beliefs widely held in the city.
The first was that the system of decentralized control, ended after 35 years by the State Legislature in June 2002, had been a misadventure of bureaucratic inefficiency, academic inconsistency and persistent corruption.
The second was that the education program advocated by Mr. Bloomberg’s predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, with its emphasis on steering public money into vouchers for private schools, was too radical for New York.
The final factor was that Mr. Bloomberg, astride a personal fortune, and Mr. Klein, an anti-trust lawyer in the Clinton administration, were so independent and incorruptible they could be trusted to run a system with more than a million students and a budget well into the billions with few, if any, of the traditional forms of government or community oversight.