School & District Management

Bloomberg’s Education Record at Issue in NYC Mayoral Race

By Dakarai I. Aarons — September 23, 2009 1 min read
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In his quest for a third term as New York City ‘s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg has been hit with more than a few jabs at his record running the city’s schools by his opponent, William C. Thompson Jr., the city’s comptroller.

Thompson has been frequently issuing news releases and audits that criticize decisions made by Bloomberg and schools chancellor Joel I. Klein.

In the last two weeks alone, his office has released reports saying the school district’s construction plan will fail to solve overcrowding issues and accusing the district of poor oversight of a state grant to help address lowering class size.

Bloomberg came back swinging during a news conference Tuesday with reporters, repeating previous comments he’s made assailing Thompson’s term as president of the NYC school board, which was dissolved when Bloomberg gained control of schools in 2002.

Bloomberg minced no words with reporters:

“The issue for voters really is clear: If you think the schools are better today than they were under my opponent’s leadership then you should vote for me. And if you think that they were better when he ran the Board of Education then you should vote for him. And I wonder whether he’d be willing to say the same thing. Don’t know,” the mayor said.

But strangely, Thompson told reporters that education was just one issue in the city—even though he was planning a major address on education later that night.

This isn’t the first time the incumbent mayor has defended himself. Check out a sample Bloomberg ad here, where he calls the school system Thompson was board president of “dysfunctional and inept.” It’s one of many ads Bloomberg is using to tout schools progress as a reason for re-election.

In Thompson’s major policy address on schools last night, Thompson said he would focus more attention on English-language learners, “fix” the curriculum so teachers aren’t “teaching to the test” and work on reducing class size.

His first priority? Hiring an chancellor with “a solid and extensive education background"—a jab at current chancellor Klein, who is a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.