Strange as it may seem, the best education reporter in New York City works for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. Her name is Susan Edelman, and she regularly reports on what is happening in the city’s schools without fear or favor. Unlike the New York Times, where reporters cycle in and out of the education beat, Sue has been writing on the subject for many years.

One of her best articles appeared in 2011, when she revealed the source of the non-existent “New York City Miracle.”

The title: “New York’s School Testing Con.”

Mayor Bloomberg trumpeted the 2009 scores as proof of the success of his mayoralty, as proof that the Legislature was wise to give him total control of the school system, and as reason #1 to re-elect him to a third term (which broke the City Constitution’s two-term limit).

Edelman began:

In a stunningly short time, from 2006 to 2009, New York schools celebrated what was presented as a tremendous turnaround. The number of city students passing statewide math tests in the third through eighth grades surged from 58% to 82%. At the same time, the Big Apple graduation rate rose from 49% to an all-time high of 63% last year.

The figures were miraculous.

They were also, for the most part, a lie.

While the scores have risen, real achievement has lagged. Behind the curtain, an erosion of standards has led to a generation of New Yorkers who have been handed high school diplomas but can’t handle the rigors of college or careers.

A new state report finds just 23% of city grads leave high school ready to succeed in college or the work world. About 75% who enrolled at CUNY community colleges flunked the entrance exam, and must take one or more remedial classes in math, reading and writing.

Many blamed State Commissioner Richard Mills, who set graduation standards so high that he had to lower the bar or face the possibility that most students would not get a diploma.

But others saw a coverup of huge proportions when the 2009 scores went through the roof. In response to the spectacular scores, Regent Betty Rosa asked,

 “Why are we celebrating these scores as a miracle, when there is no miracle?” Rosa said she asked.

Another insider said Big Apple officials were urged not to “exaggerate” the results. But Mayor Bloomberg hailed the increase in 2009 as an “enormous victory.” At the time, he had a lot riding on the scores — he was seeking a third term and pushing for legislation to extend mayoral control of the schools.

City officials “got very angry,” the insider said, when Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch publicly downplayed the results, citing “troubling gaps” between the stellar state scores and lackluster outcomes on national exams.

Mills has maintained the scoring was backed by his panel of experts. But Rosa and other members of the Board of Regents say he kept them in the dark.

“I basically asked, ‘Who sets the cut scores? How is this determined?’ ” said Rosa, who joined the board in 2008. “There was no real explanation. I never got a straight answer.”

Mills and his testing chief, David Abrams, had rebuffed requests in 2008 to investigate the inflation. Faced with a lack of confidence, Mills was “encouraged” to leave in June 2009, insiders said. He declined to comment last week, saying, “I have nothing to add.”

Many city students soon discovered their Big Apple diploma was little more than a piece of paper.

Jasmine Gary, 18, a graduate of Port Richmond HS on Staten Island, was surprised when she scored a 70 on the Regents math exam.

“I don’t know how I passed, because I failed a lot of math classes,” she said.

She applied to CUNY but bombed on the entrance exam. Now she’s required to take a no-credit, $75 remedial class at Borough of Manhattan Community College, but is catching up. “I learn more here,” she said.

Rossie and Angely Torres, 18-year-old twins from The Bronx, earned 76 and 75 respectively on the math Regents at Philip Randolph HS in Harlem. They, too, take remedial classes at BMCC.

“In high school it was just people talking and the teacher would just give us an assignment. It was just to graduate. But here, people work hard and the teacher is more serious,” Rossie said.

Former Chancellor Joel Klein, who left office several months ago to join News Corp, which owns The Post, declined to be interviewed. But he defended his eight-year record via e-mail sent by a city DOE spokesman.

“We’ve long called for higher standards and . . . we still made real gains,” Klein said.

For instance, city fourth-graders have boosted their scores on national reading tests since 2003, though eighth-grade scores have remained flat.

And NYC has outpaced the state’s other big cities, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, the DOE says. In 2002, New York City’s fourth-grade math results were 27% lower than the statewide average, while the other four cities showed a 31% gap. In 2008, New York City was just 8% behind the rest of the state, while the “big four” were 25% behind.

But the more spectacular results have vanished.

The Board of Regents commissioned a study, led by Harvard professor Daniel Koretz, which concluded in 2009 that the statewide grades three-eight tests had become too easy. Mills’ successor, David Steiner, recruited for his experience in teacher development as dean of Hunter College of Education, was charged with making the 2010 tests more comprehensive and less predictable. He also hoisted the cutoff points, requiring students to do more to pass.

Scores plunged. Just 54% of all city students in grades three-eight showed proficiency in math tests last year, compared with 82% in 2009. Reading proficiency citywide fell from 69% to a dismal 42%.

Even so, the tougher tests continued the practice of giving “partial credit” for wrong answers — or no answer at all — if the kids showed some understanding of the concept or did one step right.

On the fourth-grade test, for instance, a kid who answered that a 2-foot-long skateboard is 48 inches got half-credit for adding 24 and 24 instead of the correct 12 plus 12. “They were giving credit for blatantly wrong things,” said a teacher hired to score the tests.

A state report released this month delivered a new blow. It found that most kids who earn less than 75 on the state Regents English test or 80 on the math exam — 65 is passing for both — must take remedial classes before starting college.

That 65 score is misleading as well. It’s based on an adjustable scale — and the state has whittled down the points needed to pass. Back in 2003, students had to get 61.2% of math questions right for a 65 score, the minimum required for a Regents diploma, and 50.5% of questions right for a 55 score, enough for a “local diploma.” Today, students need just 30 points out of a maximum 87 — or 34.5% — to get a 65 score.

“When Johnny or Jenny comes home with a 65 or 70, their parents might think they’ve mastered about two-thirds of the material. In fact, it’s slightly more than a third,” said Steve Koss, a retired city math teacher who has railed against the bloated test scores. “Sadly, most parents don’t understand how the scoring works. If they knew the truth, many would be outraged at what amounts to a fraud perpetrated against them by state and local education officials.”

Last month, the state launched a shorter English Regents exam, cutting it from two days to one, six hours to three, and four essays to one. Instead of three other essays, kids have to write two “well-developed paragraphs.”

To bring matters to the present, the Regents are now debating whether to retain or discard their storied exams, which students must pass to graduate.

But that’s a topic for another post.

59 Comments Post your own or leave a trackback: Trackback URL

  1. Bob Shepherd says:

    “in high school it was just people talking”

    wow

  2. Stephen B Ronan says:

    I find nothing in the article that negates:
    “And NYC has outpaced the state’s other big cities, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, the DOE says. In 2002, New York City’s fourth-grade math results were 27% lower than the statewide average, while the other four cities showed a 31% gap. In 2008, New York City was just 8% behind the rest of the state, while the “big four” were 25% behind.”

    • dianeravitch says:

      So what? NYC is far wealthier than the other urban districts in the state. Of course, its scores should be higher. Not because of Bloomberg’s obsession with testing but because NYC has more money, more jobs, and a strong teaching force.

      • Stephen Ronan says:

        Diane: “So what? NYC is far wealthier than the other urban districts in the state. Of course, it’s scores should be higher.”

        The point there was not that those NYC scores were higher than in other major cities, but that, during the Bloomberg/Klein era, they had improved far more rapidly in NYC relative to the state as a whole. There’s plenty in the article to suggest that state standards were inconsistent in that era, but that doesn’t gainsay NYC results relative to the state’s other cities.

        Perhaps you’d want to make the case that the wealth of NYC and the amounts spent for its school system increased under Bloomberg relative to other large cities… Seems a plausible possibility. I would be interested to see your evidence for that.

      • dianeravitch says:

        Bloomberg made testing a fetish. That briefly and temporarily raises scores as we have seen in NAEP, which saw an increases both before and after NCLB. But the scores went flat as the test prep mania became normalized.

        Bloomberg demoralized teachers, reorganized every other year, closed schools, opened schools, and created corporate titles for unqualified people at the top of the hierarchy. Many who survived the Bloomberg era in the schools remember it as a reign of terror. Whose school will be closed next? Which principal? Which 30-year-old will be put in charge of a school despite not experience? He also hired three non-educators as chancellors. Only one of them had ever run a large organization, as a publisher. She lasted 95 days.

      • Stephen Ronan says:

        My understanding of NYC schools during that period is primarily informed by Andrea Gabor’s “After the Education Wars”. While there are occasional elements I’d dispute, for the most part it seemed a reliable, highly engaging, overview of the successes and failures… If you’ve had a chance to read it yet, did you have major quarrels with any of its analysis?

      • dianeravitch says:

        I lived through the 12 years of Bloomberg’s hamhanded efforts to reform the NYC public schools. Read my chapter onNYC in The Death and Life of the Great American School System. What do you think of hiring a failed tech executive from Denver to run the Leadership Academy for new principals, who brought with him a staff of his 20 workers, none of whom
        Was an educator, but one was his “personal coach.” Don’t you have a personal coach?

      • Stephen Ronan says:

        “Read my chapter on NYC in The Death and Life of the Great American School System.”

        OK. Will do. Thanks for the suggestion.

      • ciedie aech says:

        fetish: an exactly true word for describing Bloomberg’s school reform tunnel vision. He cannot even fathom how far off his ideas are from being “good” for kids.

  3. Yvonne says:

    Bloomberg is a CON … just not as bad as that dump, but still a CON.

  4. Chiara says:

    “A new state report finds just 23% of city grads leave high school ready to succeed in college or the work world. About 75% who enrolled at CUNY community colleges flunked the entrance exam, and must take one or more remedial classes in math, reading and writing.”

    Unfortunately I don’t think this is a good measure either. There’s lot of evidence that the “entrance exam” community colleges are using is pushing way, way too many students into remedial courses:

    “There were vast inequities in our traditional approaches to placing students in English and math and requiring remediation,” Hern said. “Even though these remedial courses were intended to help students, they actually make them less likely to complete college.”

    https://www.kqed.org/news/11754602/in-move-away-from-remedial-classes-california-community-colleges-roll-out-more-transfer-level-alternatives

    She may question Bloomberg’s numbers, and good for her, but using another questionable number to do it doesn’t help matters.

  5. Chiara says:

    I’m not even sure the remedial courses were intended to “help students”- students spend billions of dollars on them. How do we know the test that determines whether they need remediation is high quality or worthwhile? Why would it be any better than the tests Bloomberg gamed?

    • Christine Langhoff says:

      You’re 100% correct, Chiara, especially given that one of the most widely used tests, the so-called Accuplacer, is a College Board product.

  6. Chiara says:

    “College administrators typically rely on standardized tests to decide which students should proceed directly to college-level classes and which students should start in remedial courses. But a new Alaska study adds more weight to a growing body of research showing that standardized tests are a lousy way to make this decision, and that it would be much better to look at students’ high school grades instead.

    The Alaska study, conducted by a regional research laboratory funded by the U.S. Department of Education, found that SATs, ACTs and the placement tests used by the University of Alaska were all poor predictors of how a student might do in a college-level math or English class. Many students who did well on these exams bombed their college classes, and vice versa. Instead, the researchers found that if college administrators had simply looked at the students’ high school GPAs, they would have done a much better job at figuring out who needs to relearn high school material and who doesn’t.”

    https://hechingerreport.org/colleges-sending-wrong-students-remediation/

    • Yvonne says:

      Chiara,

      Talked about SAT scores at the dentist’s office this past week.

      And….
      Billionaires should have only one vote, not a megaphone.

  7. Marcia Biederman says:

    It’s good to see Susan Edelman get the credit that she is due. When I taught for the NYC Department of Education’s adult-education program, I was one of many educators who spoke at a City Council hearing about inequities in the program, which, among other issues, was turning away students with the lowest level of literacy for fear they’d drag down test scores. (This happened post-Bloomberg, as the NY state ed department, which is mainly responsible for the city’s adult-ed funding, continued the testing charades.) We couldn’t interest the NY Times in the issue, but Edelman took it on. She’s persistent, respectful of sources, knowledgeable and accurate.

  8. i’m wondering if everything about testing is wrong, then what if tests were abandoned? what do we really know as educators about teaching literacy and numeracy? we should go back to the beginning, that is, to the brilliant pedagogy developed in the 70’s and 80’s that was inclusive, student-centered, and profound.

    • dianeravitch says:

      No high performing nation tests every child every year. Finland has no standardized testing in grades K-9.

    • ponderosa says:

      You ask the right questions (though I question your solutions).

    • retired teacher says:

      Our obsession with testing does not serve students well. When I first taught in New York, the Regents courses were honor courses. When we make the test for everyone, we either reduce the rigor of the test or game the system to avoid widespread failure. We know the scores fall in line with socioeconomics so we are only fooling ourselves. High stakes tests result in cheating or gaming the system. This is not the best way to help students.

      • bethree5 says:

        Yup, and I always want to chase that question down the rabbit-hole. Why did we make the test for everyone– what happened to the non-Regents diploma?

        Well, I guess that must have something to do with the boneheaded [govt/ industry-promoted] idea that “everyone must go to college,” even tho for decades only about 30% of hisch grads qualified/ matriculated. Where did they get that from? Oh yeah, the late-’70’s collision of increasing automation and offshoring mfg to cheaper-COL countries.

        The mantra became: (a)US pubschsys stinks, we score lower than other OECD countries so fix that pronto, and (b)the future lies only in high-tech, get thee to a college or you’re doomed to penury– the 2 concepts were merged: dump vo-tech from the hischs & convert all students to college STEM material. But… how did govt/ industry come up w/that whopper, as opposed to, say, addressing the problem head-on, calling on experts to hobnob in convocations & begin serious social planning to deal w/sudden economic change?

        That’s where my mind always hits tilt, in the ’80’s. Because at precisely the same time, armageddon was being staved off w/sauve-qui-peuve financial policies geared to allow flow of $ straight up, w/ $cloutiest to grab biggest pieces of shrinking pie. Solutions, schmolutions. Every bit of ed [et al social] policy since then has been bought & sold to the highest bidders.

  9. NoBrick says:

    I thought ‘scores were only true in fairy tales
    Meant for someone else but not for me
    ‘Scores were out to get me
    That’s the way it seemed
    Disappointment haunted all of my dreams

    Then I saw my ‘scores, now I’m a believer
    Not a trace of doubt in my mind
    I’m certified
    I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave ‘scores if I tried

    I thought testing was more or less a giving thing
    Seems the more I tested the less I got
    What’s the use in tryin’
    All you get is pain?
    When I needed sunshine, I got rain

    Then I saw my ‘scores, now I’m a believer
    Not a trace of doubt in my mind
    I’m certified
    I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave ‘scores if I tried

    Unless Ye believe in ‘scores, Ye shall not remain certified
    As the doctrines of certification are ‘score based.

    Thus, the insularity of the certification process requires one to
    avoid drawing inconvenient conclusions…

    “New” ‘scores are the same as “old” ‘scores…BULLSHIT

  10. ponderosa says:

    This quote jumped out at me:

    “In high school it was just people talking and the teacher would just give us an assignment. It was just to graduate. But here, people work hard and the teacher is more serious,” Rossie said.

    Out-of-control student talking is the plague that no one wants to talk about. That’s why kids aren’t learning. I don’t blame Diane for not grasping the enormity of this problem because we teachers aren’t honest reporters, and some of us gaslight those who do speak up. Oh, but Rossie’s teacher was lazy and uninspiring, you’ll say. Have you ever considered that maybe she was passive and uninspiring because the students forced her to be? Are you sure about your arrow of causation? They, not she, control the classroom. This is a “thing”: a conscientious and decent teacher who is forced to retreat; who cannot win the daily battle; who has to resort to this sort of passive teaching because she is simply overpowered (and because the administration is also too overwhelmed to turn the situation around). The French movie The Class shows this so well. No Hollywood director is knowledgable or brave enough to break the taboo and tell it like it is. I’m fortunate to have good rapport with most of my classes at my relatively tame suburban middle school, and in the tough ones, I usually win the daily battle through finesse and engaging teaching, but if my energy ebbs (I work out like an Olympic athlete because I need to) , I get sick, or the lesson is flat, the disorder rises and can mightily test my strength. I have a very smart, kind friend who taught math in a NYC high school. He was crushed by the job. We leave these teachers in the lurch.

    • lauren h coodley says:

      Paolo Freire proposed radical methods of pedagogy that actually work. Teachers met in groups to figure out how to apply these to American classrooms. Ideally, you’d have no more than l5 students in a classroom but I’ve seen them work in a classroom of 50. Tests were taken by groups who worked to help each other.

    • Roy Turrentine says:

      You are correct in that student behavior is central to the problems we have as teachers. These behaviors include talking too much off the subject, but they also include shutting down when the teacher makes it plain they are not going to do that.

      My most immediate frustration is the lack of preparation outside of class. There are not too many ways you can tell somebody where Germany is. They just have to look at the map outside of the reference to it in class. But so many kids do nothing without your standing over them.

    • gitapik says:

      There’s no question that Bloomberg and many others shifted and continue to shift the responsibility of student failure from the students to the teachers.

      The kicker is that the tools we were taught to use to deal with the kids’ lack of attention were taken away from us.

      I had good success teaching very tough inner city kids for a while, using a variety of remedial math and ELA programs (combined with what I knew worked for my individual kids) and behavior management techniques.

      The most effective proactive behavior management tool was a small basketball hoop/backboard with a small inflatable realistic looking basketball.

      The agreement was this: if the kids paid attention to and put real effort into the lesson for 40 minutes of the 50 minute period, we would have a foul shooting competition during the remaining 10 minutes.

      It was great: they learned to establish and maintain rules regarding points scored according to shot difficulty and keeping silent during the individual shooting. We had two official scorers (rotating), which added a math component. And they knew that every minute that I lost due to interruptions during the 40 minute lesson time would be subtracted from the 10 minutes of basketball. I made it clear that I HAD to teach the lesson first.

      The remedial lessons were on their functional level(s) and they earned some fun time so long as they attended to the material. Cause and Effect. The kids bought into it. Hard core inner city kids. What could be better?

      GRIT! THAT’S what!! The kids need to learn some discipline and how to persevere. Work is not supposed to be fun.

      The business world had entered and issued its decree. And that battle cry was even being called out, loud and clear, from the White House and Capital Hill.

      Bloomberg/Klein’s plan called for educational instruction every minute of every period. Everything was broken down into separate components of whole class/small group/independent work/share out. Each section had its specific time component.

      No remedial programs (”raise the bar and they’ll jump higher”). No time for anything else. Every one of those 50 minutes was accounted for. Anything else was considered “fluff”.

      Down came the b-ball hoop. In came the one size fits all math and ELA programs.

      Student engagement and interest went down the tubes. Incidences of violence during class predictably increased.

      The teachers were (and still are) being blamed for much of what was beyond our control. And the playbook we were given to address those challenges was simplistic and inadequate.

      • ponderosa says:

        This is an amazing comment, Gtapik. Wisdom, not Bloombergian arrogant ignorance.

        You describe two keys to make schooling work:

        You tailor the material to meet students where they are (too easy is dull and fruitless; too hard is painful and fruitless). Cognitive science supports this approach –too bad the education “experts” don’t know the science.
        You do what it takes to corral kids’ attention (in this case, offer a sustainable “carrot”). Yes, you sacrifice the hallowed “bell-to-bell” instruction, and you resort to the “bad practice” of external rewards, but I’m sure there was more net learning in your classroom than in those that conform to the demented, arbitrary reformist orthodoxy.

        An authentic reform movement would identify and promulgate ideas for effective “carrots”, like your basketball hoop. And it would scrap the crazy, too-hard standards and allow teachers to teach at students’ “sweet spot” –neither too easy, nor too hard.

      • gitapik says:

        I get a little self conscious about my longer posts, so thanks for reading that one through, ponderosa.

        I definitely saw progress, moving away from the extrinsic motivator of the basketball game and into the intrinsic area of pride in self achievement. I remember this one kid saying he couldn’t believe he was actually reading. He didn’t think it would be possible. I reminded him that it was because he’d worked hard and consistently at it.

        Didn’t need to tell him that he did it partly because he wanted to play basketball. 🙂

        Big push has been away from the kids having fun in school. A more authoritarian view of “nose to the grindstone”.

      • lauren h coodley says:

        i also appreciated your vivid description of what teaching used to be. My students made quilts, built cabinets, wrote children’s books, took group tests, and generally learned to enjoy learning. breaks my heart to see all of this forgotten or devalued…

      • gitapik says:

        I hear you, Lauren.

        There are still some schools that still teach in that manner…it’s just not the norm anymore. At least, not here in NYC, it would seem.

        What’s particularly problematic in my scenario is that these were the “impossible” kids. The ones who had been referred to self contained special ed programs because of their severely disruptive behaviors. They were learning and having fun.

        To have that blindly taken away with not even a nod to all the hard work we’d done through the years, replaced by junk science, and then be blamed for the results was not my idea of great educational or administrative practice.

  11. Fred Smith says:

    I draw three points form Susan Edelman’s (great reporter!) 9-year-old article.

    Data-driven Bloomberg is a data-con, lofted to the heights by his greatest strength–an enormous public relations army. Manufacture false pictures of success, especially in election years. Soon we will be told he’s six feet tall but only appears to be 5’6″ because he prefers to slouch.

    Second, the oxygen-sucking focus in NYC testing for the last two years has been on how to change the process for admission to specialized high schools. This is an important concern that somehow has taken our eyes off the ball. Strikes me as obvious, however, that we should be talking more about how best to assess the 440,000 kids in grades 3 through 9. Who gets into Science HS, worries me less than how many kids are the victims of lousy testing in the early grades.

    Third, please do not fail to note that the now-Chancellor of Regents, Betty Rosa was an outspoken questioner of the NYS Testing Program and its spurious results so many years ago–even preceding the opt out movement. She vigorously challenged her predecessor on this subject–on a normally genteel Board of Regents. I call that leadership.

  12. sedelmannyp says:

    It’s always an honor to be mentioned in Diane’s blog, which is essential reading daily. I’m glad you shone a light on this dark aspect of Mayor Bloomberg’s education record as he runs for president.

  13. NYC public school parent says:

    I agree with the premise of this article about the cut scores for passing various tests being manipulated for political reasons.

    But just wondering if anyone has looked at what a Regents Algebra 1 Exam looks like recently? Google June 2019 Regents Exam and try to take the exam that “advanced” math students take in 8th grade and the rest — and that includes those who can barely do math – take in 9th grade! It’s not the Algebra most of us used in our daily lives. In fact, in some ways, the math section on the SAT that students take in 11th grade demands a lot less specific knowledge and would probably be easier for most of us to pass.

    What has happened in public schools is that students are rushed through math concepts before the majority of them are ready and have no time to learn them properly.

    The entire math curriculum should be slowed down – and by “slow down” I mean that the average student — the average — would still learn at a rate that was much faster than they learned in the 1970s.

    It would not surprise me if the reason that the student in the article who took the remedial college math course was doing better is because the concepts were taught at a slower pace, starting with reviewing the least advanced concepts so the students learned them.

    It is possible to run a successful business where math skills are required every single day, and not be able to pass the 9th grade Algebra Regents. There will always be students with top math skills who are going into fields like engineering or science who should be given every opportunity to learn advanced math at a faster pace. But because the entire math curriculum has been rushed for political reasons, many students who could have learned math at a much slower (but fast by 1970s standards) rate suffer the consequence. As do their teachers.

    How many questions on the June 2019 Algebra Regents can you answer? Are you smarter than the average 9th grader?

    Also, the reading comprehension skills necessary to pass a math test have increased one hundred fold.

  14. FLERP! says:

    Surprised to hear you praise Edelman, but I agree.

  15. I do not remember where I read it, but Governor G. W. Bush’s Texas miracle followed the same script. Lower standards to raise the results of the test scores. For Texas, the bar was lowered to 4th grade.

    • ciedie aech says:

      I always associate the phrase “juking the stats” — a phrase which became popular in early days of testing — to the G. W. Bush “miracle”

      • dianeravitch says:

        That wonderful series “The Wire” has an episode about police and schools called “Juking the Stats”

      • gitapik says:

        My most challenging class (both in terms of the kids and the demands that were being placed on us by the admins) just so happened to coincide with the year that The Wire dedicated to the education system in Baltimore.

        I was totally addicted to the show, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, come home and watch what I knew would be a rehash of what I was dealing with in real life. I needed to come home and chill out. So I didn’t watch it.

        After the series went off the air I decided to check out the season that I’d missed.

        It so accurately depicted so much of what I’d experienced in NYC that I did a little research and, sure enough; one of the writers had served as a teacher after retiring from the Baltimore police force. He GOT it in a very big way.

        The Wire is one of my all time favorite series.

  16. retiredbutmissthekids says:

    I probably missed it (always having to be up to snuff as to what has been going on in Chicago & in IL), but wasn’t Mayor Bloomberg in favor of increasing class size & making statements as to the non-harmful effects of such? (I do follow Leonie Haimson, but this retired & aging brain is bombarded w/TMI!)

    • dienne77 says:

      Yes. He claims that “all of us” in his generation went to schools with classes of 40 or 50 and it didn’t hurt him any.

      • ciedie aech says:

        imagine going back to having not only full administrative but district and parental support for teachers: THAT’S the part I remember about my own education

  17. John Elfrank-Dana says:

    Susan Edelman was a big help to expose the corrupt administration at Murry Bergtraum High School. The teachers there needed her help because union HQ had no interest.

  18. NYC public school parent says:

    This post inspired to see what other reporting Susan Edelman had done.

    Did you know that Mayor Bloomberg’s daughter Emma is married to Jeremiah Kittredge, the disgraced former head of Families for Excellent Schools who got fired after sexually harassing a woman in an elevator at an ed reform conference?

    Jeremiah Kittredge is Bloomberg’s son-in-law? I had no idea of that! No wonder Bloomberg is such a charter cheerleader and their dishonesty and corruption doesn’t bother him at all.

    Is this common knowledge?

    • dianeravitch says:

      I was aware of that but I avoid personal critiques.

      • NYC public school parent says:

        That makes sense.

        However, it is a fact that Mike Bloomberg as Mayor gave Eva Moskowitz’ Success Academy free space in NYC public schools, something that was worth huge amounts of money, at a time when charters were supposed to be paying for their own space.

        It is also a fact that one of the last actions of the outgoing Bloomberg administration DOE was to give Moskowitz the free space she wanted in a school in Harlem, even though it meant evicting a public school of severely disabled children from that building.

        According to reporting in the NY Daily News (3/20/2014), Families for Excellent Schools, the organization started and led by Jeremiah Kittredge, spent $3.6 million on tv ads to attack de Blasio for not giving Moskowitz that free space that Mayor Bloomberg’s DOE had given her. (The ads run by Kittredge’s organization never mentioned that giving Moskowitz what Mayor Bloomberg’s DOE demanded Moskowitz get meant evicting severely disabled children.) It was so good of Kittredge to use his organization’s money to defend Mayor Bloomberg’s free giveaway to Eva Moskowitz, even if he did forget to mention the eviction of the severely disabled children.

        And this reporting is from a Politico article from 2/2/18 when Kittredge was fired from Families for Excellent Schools, detailing how his relationship with Success Academy was so close.

        “Ann Powell, a spokeswoman for Success, said that Success was considering offering Kittredge a position before Moskowitz learned about the investigation and said that Kittredge was not formally offered a job by Success.

        Moskowitz and other top leadership at Success “did not know of the investigation or any other allegations against Kittredge until the day Families for Excellent Schools terminated Kittredge,” Powell said.

        Powell confirmed that Success is no longer considering hiring Kittredge. She declined to comment further on Moskowitz and Kittredge’s working relationship, reiterating that Success officials didn’t know about accusations against Kittredge until he was fired earlier this week. A spokesman for Families for Excellent Schools declined to comment further.

        Although Success has internal and external media relations operations, Kittredge has frequently served as Moskowitz’s unofficial press secretary at events. As recently as November, he orchestrated a press conference on the steps of City Hall about a school space sharing dispute between Moskowitz and Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling on reporters and identifying last call for questions.

        He fundraised for his organization in part off Success’ extremely high standardized test scores, and served as the logistical arm of Success’ ambitious political advocacy program.

        Kittredge is best known in New York for helping to arrange enormous pro-charter rallies attended mostly by Success students, who have had their schools closed for the day and been bused to rallies in Albany and various parks and squares in New York City.

        Kittredge’s many critics in the city’s charter sector say he gained outsize political influence for arranging soundstages and getting kids on buses for the rallies, and overseeing advertising for the group’s political campaigns. (One campaign aimed at highlighting the poor quality of the city’s traditional public schools, dubbed “Don’t Steal Possible,” was nominated for an Effie marketing award in 2016, in the “engaged community” category.)”

        The Politico article goes on to note “Kittredge’s close ties to the donor class of the charter sector…” and also talks about the Nov. 2016 fiasco in which Kittredge got into legal trouble when his organization was fined for illegally concealing its donors in it’s campaign to increase charters in Massachusetts. His organization was banned from campaigning in Massachusetts for 4 years because of that.

        Eva Moskowitz endorsed Betsy DeVos and became one of DeVos biggest cheerleaders during her confirmation hearings. Eva Moskowitz’ charters were given very favorable treatment by Mayor Bloomberg. Eva Moskowitz’ golden boy was Jeremiah Kittredge, who was extremely helpful to her as head of FES — with the Politico article noting how Kittredge had frequently served as “Moskowitz’s unofficial press secretary” at public events. Kittredge had intended to leave FES and go to work directly for Eva Moskowitz – the woman who endorsed Betsy DeVos and got especially favorable treatment from Mayor Bloomberg. But before he could do so, he got fired in a sexual harassment scandal. And later Kittredge ends up marrying Mayor Bloomberg’s daughter.

        The ties between Mayor Bloomberg, Eva Moskowitz, and Jeremiah Kittredge are quite interesting. And it is quite interesting to know that one of Eva Moskowitz’ very biggest cheerleaders — including AFTER Moskowitz endorsed Betsy DeVos for Sec. of Education! — is now Bloomberg’s son-in-law.

      • dianeravitch says:

        I believe it was Governor Cuomo who persuaded the legislature to give free space to all
        Charter schools in NYC in public school
        buildings (co/location). I recall that the campaign Kittredge ran to embarrass DeBlasio into evicting a school for severely disabled children so Eva could have more space actually cost $6 million, raised from the ultra-rich. Bloomberg certainly gave her whatever she wanted. At one point, a reporter filed a Freedom of Information act request and obtained 150 emails between her and Joel Klein. She was Klein and Bloomberg’s golden Girl. Those scores!

    • Linda says:

      Bloomberg daughter Georgina’s friendship with Ivanka is the subject of a recent Daily Beast article…the French Revolution corrected abusive aristocracy.

  19. gitapik says:

    I remember this so well. Bloomberg rode that “miracle” to a third term election victory like an expert surfer on Oahu’s North Shore.

    Then the truth started to leak out, the grading criteria became more realistic, and the kids scores went down dramatically.

    After he’d been elected. Mission accomplished.

    Articles such as this one of Susan’s were few and far between. But we, the teachers (whose voices had been silenced), knew.

    What was particularly frustrating was how this scandal was swept under the rug. That was one of the major sticking points of Bloomberg’s three terms: his control and influence over the media. We used to walk door to door and hand out flyers (green or orange paper), hoping to expose people to something other than what Mike wanted them to see.

  20. Linda says:

    Establishment Dems want Bloomberg because he has no base to rally for him- he won’t get the black and brown vote, won’t get the vote of women from the left, won’t get the Christian left’s vote, won’t get those concerned about the surveillance state.
    Bloomberg can only draw from the financially greedy who put self before country, the ones who don’t support Trump-
    and maybe environmentalists who failed to elect Gore.

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