by Felix Perez, video and above graphic courtesy of CBSNewYork.com
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time and self-proclaimed antagonist of the city’s educators, inflamed tensions recently when he proclaimed that the ideal solution to improve public schools is to get rid of half of the teachers.
“If I had the ability . . . you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students,” he said at a speech to college students November 29.
One parent, picking up her child after school, reflects widespread reaction to Bloomberg’s remarks this way: “Well, I think he’s whacked, to tell you the truth; this is the future of our country, and why should they [pupils] be cheated?” said Fran Magliocca. “It’s not fair.”
Michael Mulgrew, a high school teacher from Staten Island for students with special needs, says, “So the mayor thinks this is a good idea — in high schools to have class size in high schools of 70 kids. Clearly the mayor has never taught.” Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, likens the mayor’s comment to his appointment of a former magazine editor with no teaching experience to oversee the nation’s largest school system. She stepped down after three months.
Mayor Bloomberg recently made other education-related news after donating $100,000 to help influence control of the Louisiana state school board. The Michael R. Bloomberg Revocable Trust, of which Bloomberg is the principal trustee, donated the money days before an election that decided control of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The majority of the board now has a clear path to pursue its pet cause: taking taxpayer money from public schools to pay for private school vouchers.
Should we pay teachers more and double class sizes to improve student learning? Let us know what you think in the comments below.