Posts tagged "Michael Bloomberg"
July 20, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this morning that the test scores announced this week, which showed charter schools had out-paced district schools, are proof enough why the city should be expanding charters.
“There’s a reason people want to send their children to charter schools,” he said during his weekly morning appearance on the John Gambling radio show.
The average proficiency rate for charter schools students improved 7 percentage points on the state reading tests and 3.5 percentage points on math. The city’s district schools also improved but at a slower pace.
Bloomberg blamed the teachers union contract for the districts schools’ inability to duplicate the success of privately-managed charter schools, which have longer days and greater flexibility in hiring decisions.
But instead of making points about issues such as teacher tenure or seniority-based layoff laws, Bloomberg invoked more salacious news items.
“The union keeps protecting people that shouldn’t be in the classroom that touch, have sex, whatever it may be,” he said. “It embarrasses other teachers.” (more…)
July 17, 2012
This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg enjoyed what could be his last opportunity to point to clear gains on city test data.
The state is overhauling its testing program next year, and year-to-year comparisons favored by Bloomberg’s test analysts will soon become futile.
Until then, city officials are championing the small gains almost every group of students made on this year’s state tests, calling the scores a sign that some fledgling school initiatives are already working.
Breaking the test results down by race, grade level and students with disabilities, each group saw gains of one to four percentage points for the numbers of students scoring proficient on the literacy and math exams. But minority students are still performing well below their white peers, and the number of English Language Learners scoring proficient in literacy actually dropped by 1.8 percentage points.
“There is still a gap, and it is unacceptable, inexcusable and it is our responsibility to rectify it,” Bloomberg told reporters this afternoon. He speculated that the ELL scores dropped because the city has begun declassifying greater numbers of ELL students who have become proficient in English. (more…)
June 11, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg did his best to put a rosy spin on the newly-released graduation rates that showed New York City’s progress last year has flattened for the first time in seven years.
Stunted graduation numbers weren’t a setback as much as they were an impressive achievement in the face of higher standards, he said at a press conference this afternoon. And better rates of improvement in other cities weren’t an indication of New York City’s failures, but a credit to what those school districts were doing right.
“They’re doing a great job and they should be congratulated,” Bloomberg said, even though in past years he’s used such comparisons to tout his own city’s growth. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t doing a great job.”
But even Bloomberg grew sober when asked about future graduation rates. Beginning this year, all students who began high school in 2007 or after will not have the option to earn a less-demanding local diploma, which for years helped prop up the city’s overall graduation numbers.
“That’ll make it tougher,” the mayor said. The man to his left, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, quickly agreed. (more…)
February 29, 2012
A frequent critique of the city’s release of value-added ratings for thousands of teachers last week has been that the city has never rated other workers in similar ways.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg explained the discrepancy, according to Capital New York. In short, Bloomberg said, teachers are not widgets, but other city workers are:
This is not like police and fire. You think about it. Police and fire, we assign a cop or a firefighter to a station, to a post, to a firehouse, to a piece of equipment. And all of the firefighers and all of the cops are changed. Not only are they interchangeable, we deliberately move them around, because that helps their careers and they learn more things and they’re better able to perform their jobs.
Education is different, Bloomberg added. His comments channeled the 2009 “Widget Effect” report by The New Teacher Project, which became fuel for reformers to push tougher teacher evaluations.
“The Widget Effect describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher,” the study’s executive summary says. “This decades-old fallacy fosters an environment in which teachers cease to be understood as individual professionals, but rather as interchangeable parts.”
January 18, 2012
When the city unveiled its school closure proposals last month, the High School of Graphic Communication Arts was not on the list. So students and staff there were surprised to learn last week that their school might well be closed in June after all.
Many students walking to the Manhattan school’s Hell’s Kitchen building this morning said they were primed for a typical school day, despite the news that Graphics, which received an F on its most recent progress report, would be one of 33 schools to undergo the “turnaround” process this year. Under that plan, which Mayor Bloomberg announced in his State of the City speech last week, the school would reopen in September with a new name and at least 50 percent of the current teachers gone.
Brendan Lyons, the school’s first-year principal, said the news was “definitely a surprise for our organization and our community,” but said he would wait for more details from the city before commenting on potential changes in store for the school.
If the turnaround plan is approved by the State Department of Education, Lyons would be eligible to stay on. But along with a team of educators and union officials, he would be responsible for selecting a new staff, drawing on current teachers for exactly half of the slots.
“Every crisis is an opportunity,” Lyons said. “I’d like to show how our school is a model turnaround that other schools can learn from.” (more…)
October 4, 2011
Using new strategies, City Council members are mounting a final push to stave off the school aide layoffs that are scheduled to take place at the end of the week.
Speaker Christine Quinn spoke to Mayor Bloomberg today about the layoffs, according to a Quinn spokesman, who said she plans to schedule a joint public hearing with the Finance and Education Committees to find out more about the scale of the proposed cuts. The DOE has maintained that the layoffs would save at least $38 million, but union officials dispute that total.
“By our calculations, it should be closer to $22 and $25 million,” said District Council 37′s Local 372 president Santos Crespo at a press conference today. The event brought dozens of union and elected officials out in support of Crespo’s union workers. It was then followed by a larger rally this evening that attracted Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Quinn’s announcement comes just days after the Black, Latino and Asian caucus discussed the option following a meeting with Chancellor Dennis Walcott in which little progress was made. Quinn has kept the issue at arms length up to this point, but inveighed against any future teacher layoffs last month on the first day of school.
Crespo, who has offered three concession proposals to Walcott, said the council’s intervention is the union’s best option at this point.
“What’s going to make [the DOE] respond is going to be the City Council. If that happens, then we’ll get to the bottom of this and see where the money is really going.” (more…)
August 4, 2011
One of the largest pots of money in the city’s new initiative to aid black and Latino young men is going to the Department of Education.
Of the initiative’s $127 million price tag, $24 million will be used to study and develop the best practices of city high schools that have best prepared male minority students for college and work. Billionaire philanthropist George Soros will foot the bill for the three-year program, called the Expanded Success Initiative.
The funding will allow the Department of Education to hire a team of research consultants to study 40 high schools with a track record of bridging the achievement gap for black and Latino male students. Josh Thomases, the DOE’s deputy chief academic officer charged with coordinating the program, said the city had not yet identified the schools that would be studied.
“We’re looking for schools with a high concentration of black and Latino boys, with high poverty and Title I funding, but with an evidence of success,” Thomases said.
“We’re agnostic to what kind of school it is,” he added. “We’re looking at the schools that have had success graduating black and Latino boys at a high school level and expanding it to other schools.”
Thomases, citing a study published by Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) last year, said that he would look particularly close at small high schools in New York City, which have shown higher rates of graduation and credit accumulation. (more…)
August 3, 2011
Less than two years after pledging that he did not want to end tenure, Mayor Bloomberg struck a different chord today.
“Do I think it’s needed at the public school level? No,” he said today.
The statement came days after Bloomberg’s most recent escalation in rhetoric against tenure protections. During his weekly radio address last week, he said tenure is a vestige of the McCarthy Era of the 1950s, when teachers were persecuted for their political views.
But until today he had not said outright that he opposed tenure’s existence for public school teachers. In fact, in a Nov. 2009 speech at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., he declared, “Let me be clear: We are not proposing an end to tenure.” Last year, Bloomberg promised “to end teacher tenure as we know it,” but by making it tougher to achieve, not doing away with it. That vow appeared to bear fruit this year when the number of city teachers awarded tenure fell dramatically.
Bloomberg was responding to a question I asked about what protections he thinks teachers should have given that Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott made clear that people who observe cheating should report it. (more…)
July 22, 2011
Being able to move forward with plans to close and co-locate schools isn’t enough for Mayor Michael Bloomberg — he said this morning that the UFT and NAACP should feel ashamed for trying to stop the changes.
Bloomberg used his weekly appearance on “The John Gambling Show” to celebrate yesterday’s late-night decision by Judge Paul Feinman to allow the city to move ahead with 22 school closures and 15 charter school co-locations. The UFT and NAACP sued in May to stop the closure and co-locations.
“There are thousands of families whose children have been in limbo because of this lawsuit, and now we can give them a clear direction. This is a big victory for the kids, and I think those that brought the suit should be ashamed of themselves. There’s no other way to phrase it,” Bloomberg said.
UFT officials bristled at the suggestion, saying that the lawsuit — which will now move into a new phase — was meant to address inequities introduced by Bloomberg’s school policies.
“If there is any shame in this matter, it belongs to the mayor and the administration that sat back and made no attempt to help schools and students that were struggling, an administration that favored charter schools while it ignored the needs of public school students,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.
The radio show’s segment on education began this way: (more…)
May 13, 2011
If Governor Andrew Cuomo angered Mayor Bloomberg by batting off his calls to end seniority-based layoffs, perhaps the governor redeemed himself in the mayor’s eyes today. Cuomo sent the chancellor of New York’s Board of Regents, Merryl Tisch, a letter saying he believes that student test scores should count for a larger portion of teachers’ annual evaluations.
His comments are a critique of a set of regulations put out by the Board of Regents that they will vote on next week. The regulations are to be used by New York City and other districts as a guide to implementing the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
In a statement today, Tisch vowed to support Cuomo’s recommendations at the meeting next week, saying that they “will lead to an even stronger teacher and principal evaluation system for New York.” It’s not clear if the other members of the board will agree with Tisch. A recent appointee to the board, the former city school official Kathleen Cashin, is a quiet critic of Bloomberg’s.
Another hurdle involves getting the teacher evaluations implemented in school districts. The new state law revising the evaluation system granted final power to local collective bargaining talks between districts and unions. That means that no evaluation system will become final without local unions’ approval.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew responded to Cuomo’s letter obliquely, saying only: “We look forward to discussing the Governor’s recommendations with the Regents.”
Bloomberg’s reaction was more effusive:
“The thoughtful recommendations made today by Governor Cuomo will greatly improve the rigor of these new evaluations, and I am heartened that the Regents agreed to adopt them. But it will take the sustained commitment of all invested parties – and perhaps most importantly, the cooperation of the teachers union – if we are to make this evaluation system a reality.”
Here’s Cuomo’s complete letter: (more…)