Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott are struggling to implement the school reforms they want. They also spoke out Friday, saying they aren't getting the credit they deserve when it comes to education. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is losing his cool over the city's stalled education plan.
"Those kids, if we lose in court, are going to go another year without getting an education and unfortunately, as we all know, they never ever catch up," he said on his radio show Friday.
The mayor was talking about the city's plans to close 24 low-performing schools. The city is hoping to reopen them this fall after a staff shake-up but an arbitrator is blocking the closures, saying they violate the teachers union's contract. The schools are now in limbo as the city appeals the decision.
"We are pursing this and pursuing this aggressively," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "My bottom line and our bottom line is to make sure our students have the best schools to start in September."
The problem is that the city does not know yet who will be working at those schools in the fall. 8,000 teachers applied for 3,000 open positions. Offer letters have been sent out but they note that the offer is contingent on the outcome of the court battle.
That has made things somewhat tricky for Linda Rosenbury, the principal of Middle School 22 in the Bronx. At this point, she can't say for sure who will be in front of the classroom, teaching her students.
"With any organization, over time there is sometimes a lack of buy in," Rosenbury said. "So there were some teachers who have not been as effective in serving our students' needs. So we are looking to build a team where every single teacher in the building has bought into the idea of changing outcomes for students."
The city's Independent Budget Office, meanwhile, released a report this week showing that nearly 62 percent of students were reading at the same level in the sixth grade as they had in the third grade. The mayor is questioning the methodology.
"You can get any kind of result that you want if you just pick the right group," he said.
The president of the teachers union said in a statement that the mayor should be asking how this could have happened, instead of repeating his "tired assertions" that everyone who disagrees with him on any education issue is wrong.