Dear Commons Community,
Over the past few weeks, candidates for New York City mayor have been critical of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration of the New York City public schools. While the Democratic candidates have been most vocal in their criticism, even the Republican candidates have not been complimentary. Today’s New York Times editorial offers its take on this all important issue:
“Mr. Bloomberg’s schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, called the criticism an “unconscionable” assault on the Education Department and accused the candidates of lacking vision. On Saturday, at a conference in Brooklyn for school administrators, he foretold a “tragedy” if the next mayor did not continue Mr. Bloomberg’s policies.
But after 12 years, this mayor’s ideas are due for a counterargument. The critiques the candidates are offering hardly shock the conscience, and their complaints about the Bloomberg administration can be heard from teachers and parents in any school in the city.
The school system has indeed gone overboard in relying on standardized testing. Tests need to be a means to the end of better instruction, not the pedagogical obsession they have become. Yes, Mr. Bloomberg has shown disdain for consultation, as in his rush to close underperforming schools without the full and meaningful involvement of affected communities. The system needs to strengthen neighborhoods’ connection to schools and reconnect with parents who feel shut out. And while charter schools can be a path to excellence, they can also cause problems. Shoehorning them into existing school buildings over local objections can alienate parents and reinforce among students a harmful sense of being separate and unequal.”
The Times editorial is on target. For those of you who are interested in this topic, the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College will be hosting a conference tomorrow night on The NYC Public Schools After Mayor Bloomberg.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
CUNY Graduate Center, 9th Fl., 365 5th Ave. at 34th St., New York
The conference is free and open to the public on a first come basis.