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Elected Officials Criticize Bloomberg's Approach To Education In State Of The City Speech

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Potential mayoral candidates weighed in on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's State of the City address Thursday, and several lobbed criticisms at the proposed education agenda. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was talking about students Thursday when he referenced the “leaders of tomorrow,” but a handful of people present for the address want a different opportunity: to lead City Hall.

In his 11th State of the City speech, Bloomberg issued a challenge of sorts to the United Federation of Teachers, framing them as a possible speed bump to his education agenda.

But with 2013, City Hall and maybe a union endorsement in mind, some eyeing Gracie Mansion saw the opportunity to set themselves apart.

"I think the lone ranger approach to education reform just doesn't ever seem to work, and to use this forum to go after teachers in a very hostile way just is not going to get us the changes that we need," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

"Rather disheartening that he almost threw down the gauntlet against our teachers, who have already been through a great deal of anti-teacher rhetoric where City Hall takes credit for everything that goes right in schools and blames teachers for things that aren't going so well in school," said City Comptroller John Liu.

"This struck me as an attempt to set up a line between them and talk about differences rather than unify," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, known as a Bloomberg ally, took a different tact.

She said the mayor set forth an aggressive education agenda and that it was up to the teachers union to respond.

For Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the speech sparked a change of heart.

"In terms of everything that he outlined for the borough of the Bronx, it really is indicative of the type of effort that we've done over the last two years, the last two and half years, working with the mayor," said Diaz.

After three terms, Bloomberg will deliver his last State of the City next year, but some of the elected officials in the audience this year are just waiting for their turn behind the podium.

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