Characterize his proposals however you will, but one word can describe Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's State of the City speech on Thursday: chutzpah.
In the news on Friday, The New York Times said Mr. Bloomberg doubled down on his controversial education policies. The Daily News called the speech "groundbreaking." The New York Post declared, "It's war."
Gotham Schools said:
Mayor Bloomberg is attempting to breathe new life into his enervated education agenda today with an ambitious and startling list of proposals that include paying top teachers $20,000 bonuses and bypassing the union to overhaul struggling schools.
The word "ambitious" rankled some of Mr. Bloomberg's critics, who weighed in heavily throughout the afternoon with e-mails and posts on Twitter, mostly saying his proposals were retreads of old and "failing" policies.
The Daily News's editorial sided strongly with Mr. Bloomberg, aiming its shots at the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew. Citing the mayor's proposal to give excellent teachers $20,000 bonuses, The News wrote:
Bloomberg’s thrust exposed just how cynical and destructive Mulgrew and other leaders have been in refusing to establish a smart new system for evaluating teacher performance.
The New York Post editorial writers fired their shots at Albany -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Legislature in general and the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, in particular.
The move couldn’t have better highlighted Albany’s steadfast refusal to help kids over the union. It also challenges Cuomo to do more than just set up a new education panel, as he plans to do.
In its coverage, Gotham Schools dug into the issue of the 33 struggling schools whose federal School Improvement Grants are being held up by the state education commissioner, John B. King Jr., because of the city and teacher union's inability to strike a deal on teacher evaluations.
Under Bloomberg’s plan, the city would swap dozens of schools from one federally mandated overhaul strategy to another in a bid to escape a requirement that the city and union come to terms on a new teacher evaluation system.
More specifically, it says:
Essentially, the city would close 33 schools and reopen them immediately, with new names and identification numbers. Then a team of educators selected for the “new” school would hire a new staff with the union’s input, pulling half of the new teachers from the original school’s roster.
Much will be written, tweeted and discussed about this and all of the other proposals made by the mayor in the coming days. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, schools head into a three-day weekend, closed for Martin Luther King’s Birthday on Monday.
Just a reminder: WNYC holds its annual M.L.K. Day event at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Brooklyn Museum, "In MLK's Footsteps: Education as a Civil Right." Tickets are free, and though they are sold out, you can still get a spot on the wait list.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will mark the weekend with hands-on programs celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on Saturday through Monday.
Many other programs are taking place around the city.
On Saturday, more than 400 city students will compete in the annual FIRST Robotics Challenge games at the downtown Brooklyn campus of NYU-Polytechnic. The students, 9 to 14 years old, will be working with the robots they designed and built from LEGOs. This year's theme is school safety. The event begins at 9 a.m.