Week of September 6, 2005
Back to School
New York's 1.1 million public school students headed back to class yesterday, in what was by most accounts a smooth first day. Still, between 1,400 and 2,000 teachers were without classroom assignments, and city teachers have no contract. Seventy-three new public schools opened, as did 69 gifted and talented programs in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. The mayor, who has asked to be judged by his education record, used the day to promote his progress; his opponents bemoaned Bloomberg's failure to significantly reduce class size in elementary schools, and said that overcrowding in high schools is leading to violence and higher dropout rates.
Schools were also a topic in last night's mayoral debate. Gifford Miller said he would cancel an upcoming tax cut for the wealthy to pay for smaller classes, and would not promote students based solely on a single test. Fernando Ferrer said he would appoint a schools chancellor who, unlike the current chancellor, is an educator. Virginia Fields said she would appoint a deputy mayor of education. Anthony Weiner said he would end a fingerprint requirement for people collecting food stamps, which Miller pointed out had already been ended. The debate was the last one before Tuesday's primary.
To read more coverage of the debate, see a transcript, and for all other campaign news, go to Gotham Gazette's Campaign 2005
No Quick Surcharge, Says Taxi Commission (NY Times)
MTA Set to Approve Ratner's Deal for Nets Stadium (Daily News)
All Eyes On Union Charter School (NY Post)
Calendar of Events: 9/11 Anniversary Events (Gotham Gazette)
9/11 And "Inappropriate Art" (Gotham Gazette)
Arts Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Back to School
New York City public schools open today, with 1.1 million students heading to 1408 schools. Seventy-four new school buildings are opening, including 15 new charter schools, one of which is run by the teacher's union. However, critics of the Bloomberg administration say that efforts to reduce class-size have slowed. A recent report by the Independent Budget Office found that despite $108 million in new funding for early childhood education, the city's public schools have 214 fewer kindergarten through third grade classes than in the previous year.
Democratic Mayoral Debate
In the final official televised debate before next week's primary election, the four major Democratic mayoral candidates criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg on poverty, education, affordable housing, gay marriage, and, in light of the recent hurricane, on emergency preparedness.
Read a full transcript of the debate.
New York Mum as L.A. Bids on 2016 Olympics (NY Times)
Half of Bronx Subway Systems Do Not Have PA Systems (Daily News)
9/11 And ''Inappropriate Art'' (Gotham Gazette)
Arts Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
Groundbreaking for Transit Hub
Ground was officially broken yesterday for the transit hub in lower Manhattan, marking the start of work on the first permanent public building to be built at
Ground Zero since September 11, 2001. Actual work will begin Monday, the day after the fourth anniversary of the attacks. When it is completed in 2009, the $2.2 billion project is expected to serve as a permanent PATH train station and a link to downtown subway lines and Hudson River ferries. A number of politicians attended Tuesday�s event, and many sought to link the project in lower Manhattan to the hopes that the Gulf Coast will rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
While acknowledging the need for aid for hurricane victims, some city officials have expressed concern that the disaster could affect fundraising for the memorial for 9/11 victims. The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation had planned to launch a national $500 million fundraising campaign this week.
Murder, Shootings Rose in Last Month (NY Post)
Activists, Workers Fight EPA Over Effects of 9/11 Dust (Village Voice)
Finance Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)
NYC Helps Out
Moved by the destruction of New Orleans by hurricane, flood and bureaucratic delay, and invoking the spirit that helped the Big Apple four years ago after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, New Yorkers tried to help the Big Easy, which remains 80 percent under water, and neighboring areas. Nearly 1,000 New Yorkers have opened their homes to strangers displaced by Hurricane Katrina, according to the Daily News. The City of New York has sent 300 police officers and 300 firefighters, as well as other emergency personnel, bus drivers and 100 city buses. The families of 9/11 victims have formed a new organization called 9/11 Families For Katrina. The mayor also announced that those wishing to make donations to relief organizations can send a contribution to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and note on the check that the donation is for "Hurricane Relief" - or call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov for more information and a list of relief agencies.
While You Were Away
The New York Times endorsed Fernando Ferrer, albeit tepidly, for the Democratic primary for mayor next Tuesday. Poverty has increased, gas prices have gone up. United States Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist died, and President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts (already his pick to be associate justice) to be Rehnquist's successor.
112 Principals Left Their Jobs Last Year (NY Post)
Spitzer Presses HMOs To Step Up Lead Poisoning Screening (Associated Press)
Fall Arts Preview Issue (New York Magazine)
Campaign 2005: Expanding Access to Health Care (Gotham Gazette)
Health Links In The News (Gotham Gazette)