In a stinging assessment of the mayor’s priorities and effectiveness, however, two-thirds of New Yorkers say they believe that the quality of the city’s long-troubled school system has stayed the same or become worse since he took office in 2002, despite his vigorous pledges to improve it.
There is equally strong opposition to the mayor’s dismantling of the city’s Board of Education in 2002. Fifty-seven percent now disapprove — a sign of dissatisfaction with the mayor’s handling of education since the State Legislature granted him much greater authority over the system.The poll shows a profound sense of unease over the state of the public schools, whose reinvention Mr. Bloomberg had put at the center of his mayoralty and his legacy. He has raised teacher pay, closed failing schools, rolled out a letter-grade system for evaluating schools and made it harder for instructors to gain tenure.Yet of those surveyed, 32 percent say public education has not changed during Mr. Bloomberg’s three terms; the same percentage say it has grown worse; and 26 percent say it has improved.Phyllis Rudnick, a 77-year-old former teacher who lives in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, recalled the difficulty of watching families learn that their local schools would be shut down.
“Parents were so unhappy. They fight so hard to keep schools open,” Ms. Rudnick said. “After 12 years of being mayor, the best thing you can do is shut down a school and start over?”
Bloomberg doesn't generate the same across the board animosity that Rudy Giuliani did at the end of his two terms (at least before 9/11), but for a man who is constantly thinking about his "legacy" (and who has hired plenty of professional journalists and put them on his payroll to burnish that legacy), this poll has to sting.
People are not fooled by his p.r. around school issues, they know the test scores and grad rates were phonied up, they think his school closure polices have been a failure, and they want clear change from the Bloomberg Years.
Note of caution to the next mayor: don't become too enamored of the corporate education reform community and get sucked in by their money and their mythology.
New Yorkers are sick and tired of this reform movement stuff and want some sanity returned to the school system that has seen nothing but constant churn and burn and disruption for the past 12 years.
They want real input into how the school system is run, they want somebody in City Hall who will listen to ALL parents and stakeholders, not just the favored few in the charter school and reform community.
They want change from the autocratic Bloomberg years.