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Sandra Feldman, president of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, thinks the power to choose principals should be taken away from school boards and given to parent- and teacher-dominated committees at each school.

"Often, people running schools get the job on the basis of who they know, rather than experience and competence," she charged in a speech last month.

To counteract such political patronage, she said, principals and assistant principals should be hired by committees composed of teachers, parents, the district superintendent or a designee, and a representative of the principals' union. School faculty members should also have the authority to evaluate administrators periodically, she said.

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