Posts tagged "Mayor Bloomberg"
January 29, 2013
Albany — A day after Mayor Bloomberg declared the chances of a teacher evaluation deal with the city’s teachers union “impossible,” both sides confirmed this morning that they are returning to the table.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew first announced that talks were set to resume at the union’s legislative breakfast this morning, the Daily News reported.
The announcement comes hours before Mulgrew is set to testify before the state Assembly and Senate education committees about the 2013-2014 budget. He is among dozens of education officials and advocates who will make their case to the legislature about what they like and what they don’t like about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal. (more…)
January 28, 2013
ALBANY — New York City would have to cut 2,500 teaching positions over the next two years under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plans, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told lawmakers this morning.
Appearing at a hearing about Cuomo’s budget proposal, Bloomberg focused on the school aid that would be withheld because the city and teachers union have not agreed on new teacher evaluations. The city already lost out on $240 million in state aid this year as a consequence of missing a Jan. 17 deadline that was written into law and could lose another $224 million next year if Cuomo goes through with his plan to tie school aid to evaluations again.
The cost of that penalty would be severe, Bloomberg told the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, forcing cuts to city schools’ spending on personnel and programming.
Bloomberg blamed the UFT, again, for the city’s shortfall and also criticized the State Education Department, which is threatening to penalize the city further by withholding some resources for high-need students.
But during a fierce exchange with Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who chairs the education committee, the blame also landed briefly on Bloomberg himself.
Nolan pointed out that Bloomberg had supported the law that paved the way for the union and the city to reach a deal on evaluations last February. She recited Bloomberg’s comments at the time the law was passed (“This is a win-win-win for the kids and for the adults”).
“Don’t you feel some responsibility for this disaster?” she asked. “And it is a disaster.” (more…)
January 23, 2013
The collapse of teacher evaluation talks comes with many costs, but teacher layoffs won’t be among them, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today.
The Department of Education is set to forgo $240 million in increased state school aid after it failed to agree on a new evaluation system with the teachers union by a state deadline last week. State officials have since said the city will have to go without far more funding until it adopts a new evaluation system.
But during a radio appearance today, Walcott said teacher layoffs are not on the table. ”We’re not looking at layoffs,” he told host John Gambling, whose show has been a forum for city, union, and state officials to stake their positions in the conflict. (more…)
January 7, 2013
Elected officials, parent advocates, and three of the four Democratic candidates for mayor lined up today to call on Mayor Bloomberg to apologize for suggesting that the teachers union is like the National Rifle Association.
On his radio show last Friday, Bloomberg characterized both the United Federation of Teachers and the NRA as groups ”where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership.”
Bloomberg had made the indirect comparison before. But coming weeks after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and with tensions already running high with the UFT over teacher evaluations, the analogy has drawn a swift backlash from union supporters.
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall this afternoon, several City Council members and other union supporters called on the mayor to “man up” and apologize. Among the speakers were Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, and former comptroller Bill Thompson — mayoral candidates who are courting the union’s endorsement. (more…)
January 4, 2013
The 30-second spot — and an accompanying statement from Michael Mulgrew — take aim at Bloomberg’s education legacy during the 11 years he’s been in office.
The ad begins with a still shot of a young student who has grown up through the city school system during the Bloomberg’s tenure, entering first grade during the mayor’s first year in office.
“And while she’s changed a lot, he hasn’t,” the narrator says, as negative tabloid and op-ed headlines fill the screen. “It’s still his way or the highway, at whatever cost.”
The ad also implores Bloomberg to “put politics aside” and “agree to a fair evaluation system that gives teachers the support they need to help children succeed.”
The $1.2 million campaign, which will run on local broadcast stations and cable television networks in the New York area, comes amid stalled negotiations between the city and the UFT over how to evaluate teachers. The city has until Jan. 17 to come to a deal on an evaluation system or else it will lose an estimated $250 million in state aid funding. (more…)
November 12, 2012
Six city schools that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy won’t reopen until 2013, according to the Department of Education’s latest update on its recovery from the storm.
But the rest of the schools displaced by the storm, which on Tuesday will number 37, will likely be able to move back to their buildings by the end of November.
To keep pace with the timeline, Mayor Bloomberg today announced an emergency plan to add $500 million in capital funds, $200 million of which will go directly toward paying for repairs at the remaining schools. The other $300 million will help repair damages sustained to hospital buildings. Bloomberg made the announcement at P.S. 207, a school in Queens that was damaged so severely that officials aren’t able to pinpoint a reopening date.
“To our knowledge, New York City government has never before made such an emergency provision for additional capital spending because of a natural disaster and certainly not one of this size,” he said.
November 5, 2012
Today marked the first day back to school for most city students, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg championed their attendance rate. But the figure he cited — 85 percent — didn’t count the 75,000 students who weren’t in attendance because their schools were temporarily closed, or hundreds of schools that did not report their attendance in time for his press conference.
Despite lingering complications from Hurricane Sandy, including power and transit woes, the majority of students and teachers invited to return to school today for the first time in a week made it. And several buildings reopened this morning despite sustaining massive damages a week ago.
For the site of his daily update on the city’s hurricane relief effort, Bloomberg picked one of those schools — P.S. 195 Manhattan Beach, a southern Brooklyn school that flooded and originally seemed unlikely to reopen to students today.
Flanked by other city officials, Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the number of closed schools is shrinking as more schools that were damaged or lost power slowly receive the repairs they need.
On Sunday, buildings too damaged to reopen contained 57 schools; Bloomberg said that number is 48 today. And just 19 schools remain without power, he said, down from more than 100 over the weekend.
One of the schools to which teachers will return on Tuesday is John Dewey High School, which Walcott cited last week as one of the most severely damaged in the city after an electrical fire during the storm. Department officials said the School Construction Authority had been able to install a generator and get Dewey’s boiler to work, obviating a planned three-building co-location. (more…)
November 5, 2012
As more than 90 percent of city schoolchildren head to school today for their first day back after Hurricane Sandy, some with extra sweaters to ward off cold, Department of Education officials will have their sights set on the 102 schools that still cannot reopen.
The number of school buildings unable to accommodate students fluctuated over the weekend, but by Sunday night, department officials determined that 57 schools were so damaged that they must be relocated and 29 schools still lacked power, down from nearly 200 at the beginning of the weekend. Another 16 schools are housed in eight buildings that have for the last week been used as shelters for New Yorkers displaced from homes and hospitals by the storm.
The roughly 73,000 students who attend the schools are expected to return to classes on Wednesday, after the entire city takes another break for Election Day on Tuesday, when many schools will function as polling centers.
In the next two days, officials aim for power to be restored to schools that lack it, shelters closed and cleaned, and damaged schools shoehorned into other locations. But Mayor Bloomberg said the transition back to school — coming after students and teachers alike have had their homes and neighborhoods disruption — would likely be rocky.
“We just can’t predict who’s going to show up where … and we’re obviously going to have problems,” Bloomberg said during a news conference on Sunday. “We’ll just have to bear it, but we’ll have a day between the first day and the second day of school – namely Tuesday – and we’re going to use that day to straighten things out to the best of our ability.” (more…)
October 11, 2012
Like the Bloomberg administration’s schools reform efforts, our series tracking the city’s progress toward fulfilling its recent education policy promises started last month with teachers and schools. Now we are turning toward the students and families they serve.
It’s a shift that city officials also made in the last year. For nearly a decade, the Department of Education’s approach to helping needy students focused largely on creating excellent new schools and closing ones that don’t work. But its policies drew fierce criticism that families were shut out of decisions and that some student groups had not benefited from years of initiatives.
Last year, the first that Chancellor Dennis Walcott led in full, city officials announced some changes to its approach, introducing policies aimed at helping students and parents. Concrete actions have been slow to come, but we found that the department is slowly plugging away at creating programs to back up last year’s rhetoric shifts. (Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.)
- The city will study high schools that graduate black and Latino students at high rates to find out what they are doing right. (Mayor Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative speech, August 2011)
The study is the intended outcome of the Expanded Success Initiative, the flagship education program of Mayor Bloomberg’s recent effort to help black and Latino young men. The three-year, $24 million program got underway in June, when the city named 40 schools to monitor as they pioneer new college-readiness strategies funded with grants of $250,000 each.
- The city will decrease the concentration of high-need students in some schools. (Communication with the state, June 2012)
Responding to pressure from State Education Commissioner John King, the city quietly embarked on a pilot program to distribute students who enroll during the school year and summer over a wider swath of schools, despite steadfastly maintaining that high concentrations of needy students do not make it harder for schools to succeed. The city gets about 20,000 new high school students, called “over-the-counters,” each year, and they have traditionally wound up in a small number of struggling schools. Last year, about 800 of them went to 54 high schools that have not usually accepted midyear arrivals. But many schools still receive few or no over-the-counter students, while others complain they receive more than they can handle.
- All city high schools, even those with selective admissions processes, will accept students with disabilities. (Directive to schools, June 2012) (more…)
September 17, 2012
In the 2011-2012 school year, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott vowed to push forward an array of policy changes — from the way teachers are hired and fired to the ways schools prepare boys of color for graduation and college. So how did they do?
We’ve rounded up all of last year’s policy promises and checked up on the city’s progress on each. Today, we’re looking at proposals to bolster teacher quality, a longtime pet issue for the Bloomberg administration.
We found that the city has fulfilled one promise completely, to create a new Teaching Fellows program just for middle schools, but several others fell off the radar or were pushed to the margins by ongoing negotiations over new teacher evaluations. Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.
In future posts, we’ll tally the city’s progress on creating new schools, engaging parents, helping high-needs students, and improving middle schools.
- The city will adopt new teacher evaluations that adhere to the state’s new evaluation law. (When: Many times)
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock should know the answer: not yet, despite one close call and a helping hand from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. City and union officials are meeting regularly to negotiate an evaluation deal, this time in hopes of meeting the state’s January deadline. They say they are “optimistic” and “hopeful” they’ll reach an agreement in time to qualify for state funds.
- Teachers with top ratings on teacher evaluations will get a $20,000 pay raise. (Bloomberg’s State of the City speech, January 2012)
The city still has not adopted new teacher evaluations, so the proposal is moot. But the teachers union, a longtime opponent of individual merit pay, quickly passed a resolution opposing it, so its future prospects are not bright.
- The city will repay up to $25,000 in student loans of teachers who are in the top of their college classes. (State of the City) (more…)