This is a story about control, my control
Control of what I say, control of what I do
And this time I’m gonna do it my way
I hope you like this s much as I do
Are we ready? I am
‘Cause it’s all about control
And I’ve got lots of it
Janet Jackson’s Control, that’s a paraphrase of a sampling of feedback concerning Mayor Stephanie Miner and the investigation of a plan that would place control of the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) in the hands of the mayor’s office. Not everyone is critical of the coup attempt as one churchgoer stated, “I don’t care who runs the schools, they’re terrible when half the kids don’t even graduate.”
Is there an inordinate amount of waxy buildup in my ears? This is the first we’ve heard of a plan to take control of the Syracuse City Schools. Because I don’t believe during the campaign we ever heard candidate Miner unveil her plans for a SCSD takeover.
During election season candidates’ heap lavish praise on our SCSD; yet as soon as the election is over it seems so is their concern. Give Mayor Miner credit for at least hitting this political piñata with a stick. (Note: If the school shaped piñata is hit correctly there are lots of goodies inside.)
The implications of a takeover go far beyond the issue of educational control. This is also about the heart and soul of ascension politics. For our entire history Syracuse has been a city that choose its future leaders from the ranks of the upwardly mobile political candidate. Initially you started on the school board where you established a name for yourself. There was interaction between the Commissioners of Education and their constituents, the families of Syracuse.
For a growing African-American and Latino community these elected Commissioner of Education positions are a stepladder to possibly becoming a Common Councilor, NYS Senator, Assemblyperson or the next mayor.
The city of Syracuse’s responsibility is to supply funding for SCSD operations. Anyone with an abacus can figure out that over the last two decades as state funds increased the city’s support dwindled percentage wise. In an attempt to keep taxes low the city never kept pace with outside sources therefore shorting families especially their children of a quality education.
It may just be coincidence but why is it that as African-Americans and other minorities reach a population of critical mass the rules change, the rungs of the traditional ladder are removed, it happens in redistricting where there’s traditionally been carved from each area a “black” city of Syracuse Common Council District and a “black” Onondaga County Legislature District. It’s not in writing; don’t believe me, try to establish candidacy in non-minority districts.
The real problem is that Syracuse was informed decades ago that if we didn’t invest in educating our city’s minorities especially the African-American population we’d have a permanent underclass.
We have no real technical high school therefore students who aren’t going to college have few alternatives; students in suburban districts have learning opportunities galore while the children of Syracuse have to hope that their school has an adequate library.
Our city buses and Zoo animals have better quarters than the facilities our children are sent to learn in.
The manufacturing payroll for the entire area has been decimated. That sucking sound is that of the annual removal of hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy, which means no jobs and escalating poverty.
The best cure for all of our ills is a job. If our elected officials found creative methods of job creation and neighborhood enhancement for the poorest of communities we’d have a better educational outcome.
Our problem in Syracuse is that we’ve become increasingly poor especially in the inner city. Removing highway overpasses, taking over schools and playing musical chairs with housing doesn’t solve this problem.
(Now I’ve got a lot)
(Now I’m all grown up, ah)
I’m in control, uh
Don’t make me loose it