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October 30, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

Reading List: The Marist Poll, Bloomberg – The Education Mayor?

* Bloomberg asked Lance Armstrong to ask Daily News reporter Celeste Katz if she will vote for him on Tuesday:

* A Marist Poll released today shows Bloomberg leading Thompson by 15 percentage points. An internal poll the Thompson campaign released last night showed Bloomberg leading by only 3 to 7 percentage points.

* Meredith Kolodner reports that a study by the Dept. of Education shows charter schools performing worse than public schools, and is doing a poor job of reaching out to special-education children and English language learners. Mayor Bloomberg has called for the state to lift its cap of 200 charter schools.

* Yoav Gonen reports in the Post that the National Center for Education Statistics, which compared state testing standards between 2005 and 2007, found that New York has set its benchmarks for student proficiency in math and reading well below of a gold-standard national test. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said states are setting the bar too low and are “lying to our children when we tell them they’re proficient but they’re not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate.”

* Elizabeth Benjamin reports that SEIU 1199 is officially staying neutral in the mayor’s race, despite opposing Bloomberg’s term limits extension and voting in favor of giving Bill Thompson the WFP nod this summer. Another union staying neutral? The UFT — just when the teachers’ contract is set to end.

* David Chen: “A Mayor Thompson would be likely to focus on quality of life concerns, like water rates or parking tickets. Major decisions on schools, housing and other issues would probably be an exercise in consensus, with more participation by advocates and citizens.”

* Suzannah B. Troy is capturing some of the protests today, and interviews Brenda Stokely:

Filed under Education, In the Trenches, News, Reading List, term limits · 2 Comments »

October 30, 2009 @ 10:37 am

UFT Splinter Group Says Vote Anyone But Bloomberg

Via Andrew J. Hawkins and City Hall News:

This year, the powerful United Federation of Teachers skipped endorsing in the mayor’s race.

But a small, dissident faction within the union has decided to break ranks, calling the UFT’s silence a sell-out.

So who did the group of rabble-rousers lift up their voices for?

None-of-the above.

“The decision to sit out the contest between Michael Bloomberg and his opponents speeds us to the brink of more disasters,” the dissident group, Independent Community of Educators (ICE), said in a statement, adding however, “It is difficult to offer [Democrat Bill] Thompson unqualified support when he has thrown support to mayoral control and supports much of the underlying corporate agenda for education.”

Their advice? Vote for anyone on the ballot. Anyone not named Michael Bloomberg, that is.
Read rest of story…

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October 28, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

Gotham Gazette: Fact Checking the Campaign

Gotham Gazette’s Courtney Gross takes a look at the mud-slinging and exaggerations in this year’s mayoral election and hunts around for the facts:


Claim: The Bloomberg campaign says, as school board president, Thompson presided over low performance and waste. Meanwhile under the mayor’s tenure, test scores are up, school violence is down and $350 million has been cut from bureaucracy and put in the classroom.

FACTS: The mayor is definitely right about one thing: Test scores are climbing, according to the Department of Education, and fast. Between 2002 and 2009, the number of fourth grade students who met or exceeded state standards in math went from about 52 percent to 84.9 percent, according to statistics provided by the city’s education department. In 2002, less than 30 percent of eighth graders met state standards in reading. In 2009, 57 percent made the grade. Whether the rise is because of easier tests, the mayor’s changes to the school system or something else entirely remains unclear.

The statistics also improved under Thompson’s tenure as president of the Board of Education — granted far more slowly. From 1999 to 2001, the years the city used the state exam while Thompson was president of the Board of Education, the percentage of fourth graders who met state math standards went from 49.6 to 51.8 percent. For reading, fourth graders who met state standards increased from 32.7 percent to 43.9 percent. According to the city’s Department of Education, the percentage of eighth graders who met reading standards dropped from 1999 to 2001 — from 35.2 percent to 33 percent.

Keep in mind: Thompson did not control the schools as school board chief — he shared that with the mayor, the chancellor and the other board members — making it difficult to attribute student success or failure to his actions. From 1996 to 2001, the years Thompson was president, high school graduation rates went from 48 percent to 51 percent.

During Bloomberg’s tenure, graduation rates have climbed from 51 percent to 66 percent, according to the Department of Education.


Claim: Thompson says his record as president of the Board of Education led to mayoral control.

FACTS: According to at least one colleague at the Board of Education under Thompson’s reign, his actions did help move the city’s school system toward mayoral control. “His efforts were precursors to mayoral control. He played a leading role in governance changes,” Sandra Lerner, a former board member from the Bronx, told Gotham Gazette earlier this year. While in the post, Thompson advocated for mandatory school uniforms and a chancellor’s district for low performing schools. He was thought of as a conciliator. At the same time, in 1996, just before he took over the board presidency, Thompson told the New York Times he opposed giving then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani control over the school system. He has since said he supports mayoral control.

[For the rest of the fact checking, see Courtney Gross’s story at the Gotham Gazette.]

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October 26, 2009 @ 11:11 am

Michael Bloomberg v. the People of New York City: The Spin v. The Facts

Filed under A Good Manager?, cynical, Education, Gay Rights, Housing, News, Reading List, term limits · 2 Comments »

October 12, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

Reading List: Bloomberg Doesn’t Want a Public Advocate, College Students Actually Talking about the Election

* Bloomberg says if he is elected a third term, he’ll get rid of the Public Advocate, reports the Staten Island Advance.

* The Downtown Express reports that Bloomberg thinks parents do not need a role in deciding issues like school crowding, school zoning or the planning of new school sites.

* College kids are actually talking about the mayoral election, reports The Ticker.

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October 12, 2009 @ 11:06 am

Success in Education Started with Bill Thompson

“The New York story is a success story in terms of education and it is a success story that actually started with Bill Thompson as the chair of the board of education and with Rudy Crew as Chancellor. That is when the ship started righting.” – Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a person deeply steeped in New York City education policy in a Huffington Post article.

Bill Thompson and Mayor Bloomberg are both marching in Columbus Day parades today and will face off in a NY1 debate tomorrow at 7 p.m.

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October 6, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

Bloomberg Raises the Hackles of Republicans

Urban Elephants, a center-right political blog, takes issue with Bloomberg’s education spin and the Brooklyn GOP is asking Bloomberg, “where is the money?” for allowing the mayor to run on their party line.

Via Urban Elephants:

This video made another thread on UE that discussed the topic of low “standards” in NYC’s Public Education System more impactful…
Read rest of story…

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October 5, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

Experts on Bloomberg’s Education Spin

Via Meredith Kolodner and The Daily News:

Father of failure, or ringmaster of reform?

Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign brands rival William Thompson, as a flop when he headed the now-defunct Board of Education.

Thompson’s team says he paved the way for the very reforms the billionaire incumbent has staked his reelection bid on.

The truth, policy makers and veterans of that era say, may lie somewhere in between.

“Thompson was one vote out of seven; you can’t say he was in control of the system,” said Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern. “It was dysfunctional.”
Read rest of story…

Filed under Education, In the Trenches, News, Reading List · 1 Comment »

October 2, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

Reading List: High Spending, Low Results in Education; Bloomberg Lobbys Against Gowanus Superfund

* Andrew Wolf writes that though there has been a significant increase in spending in New York City schools during the Bloomberg years (79% in six years), student performance has barely moved and test scores have been inflated.

* RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum released a statement to comment on the anniversary of the day Mayor Bloomberg decided to overturn the will of the people by extending term limits. He writes, “Between the money Bloomberg is spending (even though it is his own) and the way he overturned term limits; New Yorkers must realize that our democracy in this city is at stake.”

* Bloomberg said he wants to open 100 new charter schools if reelected, but charter advocates say that plan will require a lot of money.

* The Daily News reports that the federal government is looking to designate the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site, a name given to hazardous waste sites to be investigated and cleaned by the feds. Mayor Bloomberg has personally called EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to lobby against the designation and wants to find developers who could pay to clean the site and develop the area. Critics of the mayor’s move say this should be scientific decision, not a political one.

Filed under News, Reading List · 1 Comment »

October 1, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

Thompson on the Trail with New Yorkers Ready for Change

REPORTER: Even with all his years of experience, people are still wondering: Why run against the billionaire mayor? Thompson says because he won’t be like Bloomberg, who he defines as out of touch with the needs of ordinary New Yorkers. That’s a welcomed message for Jacob Daskal, who voted for Bloomberg twice but is ready for a change.

DASKAL: My three-year-old kid can do the same job that the mayor did on the people’s back. Taking the people’s money, middle class money, hiking everything. Taking a full loaf of bread and giving us back some crumbs.

(Via WNYC)

Filed under In the Trenches, News · 1 Comment »

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