Michael Bloomberg's Policies Gutted Public Education in New York City

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Duane Townsend

The Progressive - February 24, 2020

"While Bloomberg was particularly bad for the arts, he impacted teachers across all subjects. In 2011, when teachers learned that New York State’s new “accountability” metrics would use student test scores in teacher evaluations, Bloomberg went even farther, threatening that test scores would be published in the newspaper alongside the name of each teacher. With this, the best math teachers in my school transferred out to schools in more affluent neighborhoods."

Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City now running for President, often brags about being one of the most prolific charter school creators in the United States. Bloomberg says he “absolutely” intends to expand charters in his federal education plan. This is a serious threat to public education, especially given Bloomberg’s history of using his fortune to shape policy.

Since 2013, Bloomberg has been one of the nation’s biggest donors to candidates and ballot initiatives promoting charters and vouchers, giving more than $4 million to candidates in New Jersey, Colorado, Minnesota, and Louisiana, often through “dark money” PACs. In California, Bloomberg spent a whopping $39 million, backing both Democrats and Republicans who support charters. In Pennsylvania, he gave $6 million to pro-charter incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who won re-election with a narrow 1.5 percent edge, and ended up casting a critical vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

New York City teachers are vocal critics of Bloomberg, who not only used public money for school privatization but usurped the power of elected community school boards as the state granted Bloomberg “mayoral control” of New York City schools in 2002.

Bloomberg proceeded to appoint corporate attorney Joel Klein as head of New York City’s education department. Klein began a "test-and-punish" regime, which led to the closure of 150 schools and earned him an 80 percent disapproval rating with teachers

As an art teacher during the Bloomberg years, I saw the nightmare firsthand. When the former mayor cut funding for arts programs by 47 percent, over a quarter of public schools went without a full-time arts teacher; in black and brown neighborhoods like the South Bronx, it was more than half. Elementary schools were hit the hardest, with a staggering 92 percent “out of compliance” with state mandates for art.

At times, this meant teaching in an overcrowded middle school with one box of colored pencils and one box of markers to last a whole year. Forget about erasers, glue, scissors, painting supplies, charcoal, poster board or technology. I was lucky to have enough copy paper for my students to draw on. ...
Read full report at The Progressive

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