There has not been a sign thus far in the field of City Hall hopefuls that strong mayoral control over New York City’s school system will be a priority. We will see which candidates are committed to a results-based system that measures successes and failures honestly.
This kind of aggressive policy may have been easier for Bloomberg, since he relies on only his own wealth for campaign expenditures. He did not need to cozy up to any corporation or union.
His pet projects, such as banning smoking in bars and high-sugar drinks, have become fodder for critics. But along with those tiny obsessions came serious institutional reform efforts.
Looking at our public schools system with results in mind, as opposed to viewing it as a jobs factory, has made Bloomberg popular with parents, especially those in high-need areas.
Recently, the mayor committed funding to four charter schools in troubled areas that would pick up the slack where some of our failing schools cannot, or have not.
No longer are parents, especially those in low-income families, going to wait for schools to get better without an option. Charter schools, even though some do not make it, give parents an option.
Bloomberg, with his plan to build four schools in Manhattan, is taking his legacy with him. Here is hoping that somebody else wants to help carry the ball when the city gets a new boss at City Hall.
Yankees Have a Minor Problem
The baseball world is gleeful at the possibility of the Yankees finishing at the bottom of the American League East this season, struggling to find the playoffs in a division that has outspent them this winter.
Come opening day, the Yankees will have a pitching staff that most teams would want, but they are weaker in the lineup compared to last year. They are also weaker behind home plate.
People say the Yankees are an old team, and they have never been accused of being too young. But what they do have, however, is a muscular minor league system that is overlooked.
For the last three years, I have watched prospects like catcher Gary Sanchez as he developed in Single-A ball. The time is now for the Yankees to bring a few players up, ahead of the September call-up.
Outfielders like Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Sanchez may not be ready for prime time, but if Sanchez bats .211, the Yankees are basically where they were last year.
If there is one thing the Yankees minor league system is known for is wearing out young players to the point that they are no longer hot items when they get to the major leagues. Why is it that we automatically think that players get better in the minor leagues?
Pitching sensation Manny Banuelos was considered the best minor league left hander in baseball. He wowed everyone in spring training last year. Then the Yankees did what they do best: they buried him in the minors where he damaged his elbow and is now going to miss the entire season.
How long will it take stars like Sanchez and Heathcott to burn out? Nobody really knows, but odds are the Yankees will not show faith in these players until they are damaged and turn into trade bait.
The Yankees do not have to spend more or less money this year. They need to fire whoever is killing their talent in the minor leagues. Having great minor league players that never see the light of day is not a way to build a future.
As it stands right now, the Yankees have great scouting followed by a missing link in the front office.