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Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy on education is facing new scrutiny as the state prepares to release new test scores later today that are expected to be significantly lower than in previous years.

Over the weekend, the city acknowledged there would be a dramatic decline in this year’s test scores due to new Common Core standard — with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott predicting a 30 percent drop.

Bloomberg has pinned his reputation, in part, on his success at being the education mayor.

Democratic candidates hoping to be the next mayor have taken the release of the new test scores as an opportunity to criticize Bloomberg.

“The current administration has forced teachers to implement new standards without giving them the curriculum they need to do it successfully,” said Bill Thompson, a former Board of Education president who has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers.

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The city's graduation rate dropped to 64.7 percent from 65.5 percent, while the state's rate held steady at 74 percent. This is the first year where students are required to earn a Regents diploma by passing five required state exams with a score of at least 65. In the city, the dropout rate fell to 11.4 percent from 22 percent in 2005, but only 38.4 percent are considered ready for college or a career. About 30 percent of students in the state graduated with a more advanced version of the Regents diploma, an indicator of college and career readiness. Graduation rates in some of the state's other big cities fell far behind New York City's.

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By Maya Miller and Latima Stephens

As the budget dance enters its final steps, advocates still have some moves left for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At least 200 adult literacy advocates congregated at City Hall Park today to protest cuts to at least three education programs. Joined by Comptroller John Liu as well as Council members Gale Brewer, Sara Gonzalez and Matthieu Eugene, those in attendance said they are in it for the long haul.

“It’s a fight every year to get the City Council and the mayor to work together to put funding back in the budget,” said Sierra Stoneman-Bell, co-director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition.

The most recent budget put forth by the Bloomberg administration would cut approximately $7 million from the adult literacy programs. As a result, the cuts would eliminate 7,000 seats saved for helping New Yorkers learn English, which those at the protest said is vital to their and their families' livelihoods.

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The New York City Parents Union is adding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's name to their lawsuit that aims to stop city schools from losing $250 million in education aid.

The group won a temporary junction to stop Gov. Andrew Cuomo from putting in place the cuts that were triggered by the failure of the Bloomberg Administration and the United Federation of Teachers to work out a deal on teacher evaluations.

In allowing the injunction, a state judge ruled last week that children should not be punished for a failure to reach a deal. 

The Parents Union says Bloomberg's attorney informed them today that the Mayor is going forward with the $250 million in cuts. So now the group has added Bloomberg, the New York City Department of Education and Chancellor Dennis Walcot to the lawsuit and asked the judge to extend the temporary injunction to them. 

"We are appalled that Mayor Bloomberg has decided to cut $250 million from New York City's public schools despite the fact that parents have obtained an injunction against Governor Cuomo and New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., stopping them from taking education funds due to the lack of agreement between New York City and the UFT on a teacher evaluation system," said NYC Parents Union President Mona C. Davids in a statement. "Is Mayor Bloomberg above the law?"

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The city missed out on $40 million in federal Race to the Top funds for failing to provide budget, timeline and personnel information. The city scored 186 out of a possible 210 points on its application. A number of points were lost simply for incomplete answers. Meanwhile, federal negotiations over the fiscal cliff could lead to $164 million in cuts to federal aid for programs for special-education and lower-income students in the state. In other related news, schools in New York's poor districts still lack basic resourcessix years after a landmark court ruling required the state to increase spending on public education.

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NEW YORK — Councilwoman Jessica Lappin has introduced a bill which she says will help bring the “farm-to-table” concept to students throughout the city by fostering the development of school gardens.

“New York City kids know how to navigate the subway system, but many have no idea where their food comes from,” Lappin said in an interview today.   

The “farm-to-table” concept aims to educate people about how meats and grains are grown and then processed into the food that ends up in their meals.  

Lappin’s bill, which she introduced at yesterday’s stated Council meeting and will go through the committee on education that she sits on, would establish a new interagency school gardens “team” within the mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

The team would consist of the commissioners of Buildings, Education, Environmental Protection, Health and Parks, as well as the chairperson of City Planning.

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In many pockets throughout the city, the effects of Sandy are still being felt. It could be weeks before damaged hospitals reopen, but Mayor Bloomberg $500 million emergency plan for those hospitals and also public schools. Out of the city's 1,750 schools, 37 remain shuttered. Public housing residents who still have no power will receive a rent credit for their time without services, but not until January. Rockaway is still a demolition zone and mold is becoming a large concern. The city is launching "one-stop restoration centers" that will provide recovery services and disaster relief. The extra money Gov. Cuomo requested from the federal government is far from definite.

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Today's Lead Stories...

Partial Transit Restored, Free Rides


Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a traffic emergency for today and Friday making mass transit free for those using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's busses and trains. "The service in many cases is limited, the service in many cases will be crowded," Cuomo said at a late night press conference in the city. The move came afterimmense gridlock Wednesday. City busses were jammed with commuters and gas lines stretched for over half a mile. Commuters who wish to drive into the city will have to car pool. The entire transportation infrastructure has yet to be restored with flooding still impeding some routes but partial service has been restored. Check out the MTA's post-storm stubway map




In the Press...

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Civil rights and educational organizations are alleging that New York City's single-test admittance policy for eight top specialized high schools discriminates against black and Hispanic students. The groups filed a lawsuit yesterday to have the policy found in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the entrance exam, saying "life isn't always fair." “We’re not here about equal results. We’re here about equal opportunity," he continued.

 

In the Press...

NYC: World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Planned For Staten Island (Gotham Gazette)

McDonald to abandon re-election bid (Gotham Gazette)

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City Students Start School Year

Over one million students started the school year yesterday, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted his oversight of the district and Chancellor Dennis Walcott toured the boroughs to greet children and teachers.“I think it’s indisputable that our schools are heading in the right direction," Bloomberg said during a visit to Middle School 327 in the Bronx. GothamSchools live-blogged the day.

In the Press...

City wants to accelerate marketing of logos (Daily News)

Popular Bronx 'flan man' stumps for Rivera challenger (Daily News)

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