Mayor Michael Bloomberg put a strong focus on education Thursday in his 11th State of the City address.
Speaking at Gouverneur Morris High School in the Bronx, the mayor touted his administration's accomplishments in improving graduation rates and reducing crime in city schools.
But he says much more needs to be done, especially when it comes to attracting, rewarding and retaining top-notch educators.
"The education reforms we’ve pioneered over the past decade – no matter what the naysayers say – have been widely adopted by school systems across the nation, but this year we’ll be putting our foot on the gas and picking up the pace," said the mayor.
Bloomberg said he wants to retain the best educators by giving a $20,000 raise to those who are rated highly effective for two consecutive years.
As for teachers who don't make the grade at 33 struggling schools, the mayor wants to create "school-based committees'' to evaluate teachers.
It's a measure that would sidestep a dispute with the teachers union that is preventing the city from receiving $60 million in federal grants.
The mayor said he also wants to give parents more top-quality choices by opening 100 new schools over the next two years, including 50 charters.
While Bloomberg was largely met with applause Thursday, a group of protesters outside the auditorium were less thrilled.
The New York City Police Department says a total of 32 people were arrested.
All were charged with disorderly conduct.
There you have it.
Oppose Mayor 1% and his oligarchy and you'll end up in jail for disorderly conduct.
And there's a lot to oppose in this speech.
Bloomberg and his education reform backers know that there are only two more years left to finish the job of destroying the public education system in New York completely, so they've got to work overtime.
Close 25 schools.
Open 100 new ones.
Make 50 of those charter schools.
Give Eva Moskowitz and KIPP a bunch of new charters.
Place those charters in existing schools where they can act like a cancer and kill off the traditional public schools in those buildings.
Close more schools.
Open more charters.
And of course the one thing that stands in the way of this Education Reform Endgame is the teachers union contract.
So he's going to no longer abide by either that or state law.
He's just going to "turnaround" the SIG schools, fire half the staff and and bring in newbies to replace them.
Everybody gets evaluated by test scores and if you're found to be highly effective on that measure, you get $20,000 (no word on where that money comes from exactly - from the school itself where the teacher works? From the city? From Bloomberg himself?)
But if you're found ineffective, you're fired.
How like a Mamet play.
Only this is real life, these are real people and this evaluation system Bloomberg vows to use has real flaws.
Like a large margin of error.
Like huge swings in findings from year to year.
Nonetheless, Bloomberg is going to go through with this stuff and it is up to the UFT leadership and teachers and parents groups and community groups to push back on this charterizing and privatizing of the school system.
That's where the NYPD comes into the equation.
It's not a mistake that Bloomberg and Walcott are using riot police to quell protest of the mayor's school policies.
You can bet that as Bloomberg and Walcott put these policies in place and protest grows, they will use more and more police to quell dissent.
They want us to get the message - OBEY.
They've got lots of orange netting, pepper spray, police batons, horses and riot gear ready for the Shock and Awe Endgame coming in the next two years.
And they're going to use it.
All of it.