New York

Bloomberg touts selective schools again on weekly radio show

Wrapping up a week that he started by visiting a citywide gifted school that had top test scores, Mayor Bloomberg again touted the fact that 22 of the state’s 25 highest-scoring schools are in New York City during his weekly radio address on Sunday.

As we reported last week, the vast majority of the top-rated city schools heavily screen their students, raising questions about how much their success can be attributed to Bloomberg’s education policy.

Bloomberg’s full comments, as prepared for delivery, are below:

MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES PROGRESS MADE IN NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SINCE 2001 IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS

The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, September 22, 2013.

            “Good Morning.  This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.”

“For decades, it was taken for granted that New York City’s public schools could not compete with schools in the rest of the state.  But our Administration refused to accept that idea.  Our core philosophy when it comes to education has always been that if we raise our expectations, our kids will meet them.  And now, after 12 years reforming our once-broken school system, it’s clear that our hard work has paid huge dividends for our students.”

“That’s because New York City’s schools aren’t just competing with schools in the rest of the state, we’re outperforming them.  Twenty-two of the top 25 elementary and middle schools in the state are in New York City –including seven schools that were created during our Administration.  When we came into office 12 years ago, not a single school that ranked in the state’s top 25 was located within the five boroughs.”

“That’s a remarkable turnaround.  And last Monday, senior leaders in our Administration visited all 22 of our top schools to thank students, teachers, and principals for reaching such a major milestone.  We’re not going to rest, though.  We’re continuing to work every day to make sure all our schools are at the front of the pack.  And we’re doing that in a number of key ways, including three that I’ll briefly mention.”

“First, we’re continuing to create hundreds of new schools – which have given parents more quality school choices.  Our Administration opened 76 schools this fall alone.  We have now created a total of 654 new schools – that’s more than a third of the entire public school system.  It’s the greatest number of new schools created by any Administration in the City’s history.  At the same time, we’ve also given parents real information about all schools, so they can make informed choices.”

“Second, we’re continuing to improve the quality of classroom education.  This year, for the first time, we’re implementing our new teacher evaluation system, which will mean more rigorous evaluations for teachers – and also provide teachers with more targeted support and professional development.”

“And third, we’re creating dynamic new course offerings that reflect the changing 21st century economy.  For example, this month the Department of Education launched a software engineering course at 20 schools in grades six through nine.  Students at these schools will be able to receive comprehensive computer science and software engineering instruction.  And many of the new courses will help students earn certifications, which employers value in their hiring decisions.”

“Achieving success begins with expecting success.  By raising standards for our students and making the investments necessary to help them succeed, our City’s schools are now leading the way for the rest of the state.”

“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Thanks for listening.”

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.