Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota heaped praise on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education legacy in a speech this morning, commending the current mayor for achieving “incredible” results, and admonishing his Democratic rivals for failing to give him equal praise.
Mr. Lhota pointed to a smattering of improvements on state tests, as well as the city’s jump in graduation rates–which actually dipped slightly this year.
“I believe these results are incredible,” said the former deputy mayor, speaking at an Association for a Better New York breakfast at the New York Hilton Hotel in what was billed as the first major policy speech of his campaign. Coincidentally, the remarks came a day after the city’s powerful teachers’ union endorsed former Comptroller Bill Thompon, who has promised to roll back many of Mr. Bloomberg’s most controversial policies.
But Mr. Lhota criticized the union’s the influence, and argued that when crime dropped under his old boss Rudy Giuliani, electeds fell “all over themselves to join in taking credit.” Today, he said, Mr. Bloomberg has been forced to stand alone, without the support of the Democrats vying to succeed him, or the teachers’ union.
“I look at the great success of the Bloomberg administration with the education system in our City and I ask, ‘Where are the other elected officials? What are they saying? Where is the support of these officials for the achievements of Mayor Bloomberg. Why aren’t they rallying around him?’” he said.
“The answer is: They are afraid.”
Unlike the Democrats running, he said, “I will not pander to the union. I am willing to cooperate with the UFT, but labor should not expect me to give them a backrub in an election year like so many other candidates.”
Nothing incredible about Bloomberg's education policies or achievements.
Everybody knows the test scores plummeted to earth a few years ago when the state revealed Richard Mills and his merry Regents (including Merryl Tisch) were inflating the test scores like the real estate market circa 2006.
Everybody knows the graduation rates are horse@#$%, artificially inflated by credit recovery programs that had students reading Spiderman comic books, watching Spiderman movies and comparing the two for semester credit.
Everybody knows that the achievement gap between white and Asian students and black and Latino students is as large now as when Bloomberg and Klein first took over the school system.
Everybody knows these things - except for Joe Lhota, who apparently does not know these things.
But what can you expect from a guy who challenged a 77 year old man to a fist fight at an MTA board meeting?
This is not exactly a rational or sane man we're dealing with here.
Lucky for us he has little chance to become mayor.