Mayor Bloomberg got booed and heckled as he made the rounds at African-American groups touting his new education initiatives.
At the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Hizzoner was jeered Monday as he introduced Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, highlighting his administration’s successes with education policy.
“The civil rights movement transformed America for the better, and now it is up [to us] to continue the work, especially in education, Every day for the past ten years, improving the city schools has been hands-down my number one priority, and it’s going to remain my priority,” he said, receiving boos from the crowd and even calls of “You suck!” from protesters critical of the mayor’s policy of closing schools.
Bloomberg then went uptown and got booed again:
Later in the day, Bloomberg was met with more of the same.
His face flushed red when he was heckled by a Harlem crowd after being introduced by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
"There are still too many kids, killing kids with guns," Bloomberg told the packed audience at the National Action Network’s MLK Day Public Policy forum. "There are still too many of our schools who aren't giving our kids the tools they need to choose college and a career over crime and the streets."
One crowd member yelled, "Let black people in the Fire Department! It's 94% white!"
Bloomberg replied, "We’re working on the Fire Department — this is about something else."
Hizzoner calmly finished the rest of his address.
On his way out, another heckler yelled, “Stop stop and frisk!”
It is interesting to see the public outcry Bloomberg was met with when he took his reform policies and education record to the people.
Up until now, the story on the education initiatives Bloomberg called for in his State of the City address - including firing 1,700 teachers, closing an additional 33 schools, opening 50 new charter schools and replacing salary increases for teachers with merit pay - has been framed in the media as "Mayor vs. UFT".
We see today at the MLK Jr. Day events that the framing ought to be "Mayor vs. Public."