Archives for category: Bloomberg, Michael

Matt Barnum and Alex Zimmerman of Chalkbeat report that a new study of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy found that it increased the dropout rate, especially for black boys, who were most likely to be stopped and frisked.

Heather Gautney and Eric Blanc warn in the Guardian the Michael Bloomberg’s ideas about education would be a disaster for the nation. He is the only candidate whose ideas about education are in synch with those of Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and Arne Duncan. The authors are both supporting Bernie Sanders.

Affer persuading the legislature to give him total control of the city’s 1.1 million public school students, he hired three non-educators as city Chancellor. One of them, a publisher out of her depth, lasted 95 days.

Like Trump and his inept Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, Bloomberg is a fervent backer of privatizing and dismantling public schools across the country. Education, in their view, should be run like a business.

While other establishment Democrats have begun changing their tune in response to the “Red for Ed” movement, Bloomberg’s campaign spokesman has made it clear that privatization will be a core message of his 2020 presidential run: “Mike has always supported charter schools, he opened a record number of charter schools as mayor of New York City, and he will champion the issue as president.”

Indeed, Bloomberg succeeded in massively expanding privately run but publicly funded charter schools during his term as mayor, increasing their number from 18 to 183. His controversial push to “increase school choice” closed over 100 schools in low-income communities and entrenched New York City’s education system as the most racially segregated in the country…

If anything, the main difference between Bloomberg and Trump is that the former has spent far more of his immense personal fortune to boost corporate “education reform” and local candidates driving this agenda. The New York Times reported last week that Bloomberg has spent millions to promote charters in the state of Louisiana alone. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: Bloomberg’s foundation in 2018 announced its plan to spend $375m to promote charters, merit pay, and the sacking of “failing” teachers, among other reforms.

Bloomberg is also an active promoter of high stakes testing. Despite abundant evidence that an excessive testing regime does little to improve real educational achievement, Bloomberg has vociferously sung the praises of this system in op-eds such as Demand Better Schools, Not Fewer Tests. Accordingly, as mayor he fought for a merit pay system through which teachers’ salaries would be pegged to student test scores.Like Trump and DeVos, Bloomberg has also viciously attacked teacher unions and scapegoated educators. He spent much of his mayoral tenure fighting with the powerful United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which he compared to the National Rifle Association. As he put it, “if the UFT wants it, it ain’t good”.

Actually, Bloomberg has poured money into charter school campaigns across the country, not just in Louisiana. He donated big money to school board races in Los Angeles and a charter referendum in Massachusetts, among many other state and local races.. His daughter Emma is one of three billionaire board members of TFA’s political action arm, called Leadership for Educational Equity.

Though his Republican roots are less evident on some other issues, Bloomberg’s personal and political similarity to Trump will make it very hard for him to win in a general election. Trump’s base remains solid – we need a candidate who can increase turnout by energizing the Democratic base and involving new voters in the political process.

That’s why having Bloomberg as the Democratic party’s standard bearer would make defeating Trump exceedingly difficult. At a moment when a wave of successful teachers’ strikes has captured the imagination of millions and changed the national discussion on education, a Bloomberg nomination would be a sure-fire recipe for demoralizing educators and teachers’ unions, an indispensable bastion of organized labor and the Democratic base.

They conclude:

You can’t win in November without teachers. And nobody should expect educators to be won over to a billionaire who has spent much of his career and fortune demonizing them. If you want to save public schools and defeat Trump, Bloomberg is no choice at all.

From Politico today:

Of all the Democratic candidates, Michael Bloomberg has the worst record on education. His education policies mirrored George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. He was fully invested in high-stakes testing, data-based decision-making, closing schools with low scores instead of helping them, opening new schools and then closing those schools, creating selective schools that chose students based on test scores, and opening scores of charter schools. He had sole control of the “Panel on Education Policy,” and warned its members that if they disagreed with him, they would be fired. When some disagreed about his blanket prohibition of “social promotion,” he summarily fired them. He hired three non-educators as chancellor to lead the system (one of them last 95 days). He tried and failed to hire business people and people from other other fields as principals. He stands for testing and privatization of public education. He has funded pro-privatization candidates in local and state school board races around the country.

SCOOP … MIKE BLOOMBERG is airing another national TV ad tying himself to closely BARACK OBAMA. This one is a 30-second spot entitled “Difference,” and it’s chock-full of imagery of BLOOMBERGand OBAMA. The timing of this ad is quite interesting, as it comes in the middle of a massive intraparty squabble between BLOOMBERGand Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (more about that in a second). BLOOMBERG has found plenty of ways to tie himself to OBAMA, the most popular Democrat in America. The 30-second ad

— SCRIPT: “[NARRATOR]: A great president and an effective mayor. Leadership that makes a difference. [OBAMA SPEAKING]: He’s been a leader throughout the country for the past 12 years, Mr. Michael Bloomberg is here. [NARRATOR]: Together they worked to combat gun violence, and again to improve education for every child. [OBAMA]: And I want to thank the mayor of this great city, Mayor Bloomberg, for his extraordinary leadership. And I share your determination to bring this country together to finally make progress for the American people.”

BLOOMBERG also has a new 30-second spot with Judge Judy. …

— LAT WITH THE NUMBERS: “Democratic presidential candidate Michael R. Bloomberg has spent more than $124 million on advertising in the 14 Super Tuesday states, well over 10 times what his top rivals have put into the contests that yield the biggest trove of delegates in a single day. The only other candidate to advertise across most of those states so far is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has spent just under $10 million on ads for the March 3 primaries.”

NEWS: BLOOMBERG has qualified for the NBC/MSNBC/Nevada Independent debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas. He’s indicated that he’ll do it, and a brand-new poll suggests that his advertising and publicity blitz has vaulted him into second place nationally.

THE POLL: SANDERS, 31 … BLOOMBERG, 19 … JOE BIDEN, 15 … ELIZABETH WARREN, 12 … AMY KLOBUCHAR, 9 … PETE BUTTIGIEG, 8. NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll

— BLOOMBERG’S DEBATE PREP, via Chris Cadelago and Sally Goldenberg: “Howard Wolfson, the veteran Democratic strategist who joined Bloomberg’s orbit in 2009 after working on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential race, is playing the role of Bernie Sanders; Julie Wood, Bloomberg’s national press secretary, is depicting Elizabeth Warren; and senior advisers Marc La Vorgna and Marcia Hale are stand-ins for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, respectively. …

“Bloomberg is trying to hone a crisp and energetic appeal to voters that will contrast with Biden — another white, male septuagenarian on stage, according to advisers.”

THE BRAWL right now between BLOOMBERG and SANDERS seems to be the rare internecine fight that benefits everyone involved. It goes something like this: BLOOMBERG whacks BERNIE, delighting the Democratic Party’s large anti-Bernie wing. BERNIE then blasts out a fundraising email to his list of millions. He reminds his supporters that BLOOMBERG is a billionaire who palled around with TRUMP,and the left goes wild, but so do BLOOMBERG supporters, who say only a deep-pocketed billionaire willing to punch can take on the president.

Alex Pareene, staff writer at the New Republic, reminds us of Michael Bloomberg’s intolerance of dissent abd his casual disdain of civil liberties. He writes here about the mass arrests of people suspected of wanting to protest the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. He mentions in passing the Occupy Wall Street protest, in which a ragtag group of protestors occupied a small private park near Wall Street, carried protest signs, gave speeches, and built their own library. For two months in 2011, the protest was peaceful but very visible. It contributed the phrase “the 99%” to our vocabulary, referring to vast wealth inequality. One evening, Bloomberg sent in riot police to sweep away Occupy Wall Street, arrest anyone who resisted, and throw their”library” of 5,500 books into a dumpster. One of my books was in that library, thrown into the trash;P, left to rot in the rain.

Pareene recalls Mayor Mike’s authoritarianism.

Over the course of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the New York Police Department arrested nearly 2,000 people at protests. The mass arrests were indiscriminate. Bystanders and journalists were among those hauled to a filthy bus depot terminal that served as a makeshift holding pen.

Hundreds of people were charged with minor crimes so that they could be kept in jail for the duration of the convention. A judge held the city in contempt of court for failing to abide by a state policy that gives people in jail the right to see a judge or be released within 24 hours. And the city lied about how long it took to process the fingerprints of its detainees. In the end, no serious charges were brought against anyone, because the entire point was to keep people off the streets while Bush and his friends enjoyed their parties, and to dissuade others from attempting any further disruption.

Even then, it was clear that the arrests were illegal. They were, as the civil rights attorney Norman Siegel put it at the time, “preventative detention.” The cops knew it, the city’s lawyers knew it even as they denied it, and the mayor knew it. I remember all this because I was there. I probably avoided arrest out of happenstance more than anything else. But most of the people who would go on to elect Michael Bloomberg to another two terms as mayor of New York City have probably forgotten the entire episode, because, like the mayor, they never really cared.

It took 10 years for the city to settle what the New York Civil Liberties Union described as “the largest protest settlement in history.” Bloomberg had been out of office for a few weeks when the settlement was announced. In his final term, he had used similar tactics against Occupy Wall Street.

Occupy and the 2004 RNC were special events, which, to Bloomberg and his defenders, justified the bulldozing of civil liberties. But his entire mayoralty was defined less by these mass displays of authoritarian force than by the everyday abuses his police committed against millions of New Yorkers of color as part of his police department’s stop-and-frisk policy. The NYCLU reports that the NYPD made more than five million “stops” during Bloomberg’s 12 years in office. The overwhelming majority of those targeted were black or Latino.

When a federal judge finally ruled the NYPD’s tactics unconstitutional, Bloomberg essentially threw a tantrum, accusing her of being anti-cop and insinuating that she would have blood on her hands once the murder rate crawled back up. (The bad old days will return if we ever take our foot off the necks of black New Yorkers is a common refrain in New York politics, and it’s one Bloomberg was happy to endorse while campaigning for his third term alongside his predecessor, one Rudy Giuliani.)…

Earlier this week, when audio resurfaced of Bloomberg defending racial profiling by police and lamenting that police “disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little,” his comments were treated as newly uncovered bombshells. But he said these things all the time—on the radio, on television, to newspaper reporters—for years.

Bloomberg said and did all these things because he is an authoritarian. He has explicitly argued that “our interpretation of the Constitution” will have to change to give citizens less privacy and the police more power to search and spy on them. In fact, he does not seem to believe that certain people have innate civil rights that the state must respect. If the NYPD wanted to spy on Muslims, even if they lived outside New York City, solely because of their religion or ethnicity, Michael Bloomberg thought it was a great idea. And as Jack Shafer recently pointed out, his dedication to ensuring submission began before he was an elected official—when he was the boss at a company notorious for its tyrannical treatment of employees.

Bloomberg’s three victorious mayoral election campaigns are depressing evidence that a substantial number of Americans are amenable to authoritarian politics and uninterested in protecting civil liberties. So long as the person overseeing the police state claimed to be surveilling people for their own good, it was easy to turn a blind eye, especially if the surveillance was concentrated in certain neighborhoods.

 

Fred Smith was the testing expert at the New York City Board of Education for many years. After he retired, he became a relentless truth-teller about the flaws of standardized testing and the clever means of distorting the stats to produce the desired results. He currently acts as an unpaid advisor to opt-out parents.

Smith sent this article from 2007 that shows how Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein played games with the data, in this case blaming “immigrant kids” for a drop in test scores.

Mayor Bloomberg and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein, have reaffirmed that old Mark Twain saying about the three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.

Using a PowerPoint presentation filled with glitzy graphs and color charts, Klein reached a new low yesterday by attempting to blame a sharp drop in this year’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade reading scores on thousands of immigrant pupils.

According to the chancellor, the drop in the lower grade scores was solely because of the federal government’s new requirement that all children classified as English-language learners, or ELLs, must take the regular state tests after being in the country just one year.

Because of that requirement, some 30,000 more ELLs took the state test this year than in 2006, Klein said, and their lower scores dragged down overall city results.

Fred Smith was outraged when he heard Klein’s explanation. Smith, you see, spent three decades analyzing tests for our city’s school system, so he knows a thing or two about how chancellors paint the prettiest picture for the public.

“They never told you that back in 2005, during the mayoral race, the school district quietly increased the number of exemptions for ELL kids and then claimed a record boost in scores,” Smith said.

In 2009, with Bloomberg’s fellow billionaire Meryl Tisch, in charge of the New York Board of Regents, test scores in the city went through the roof. After the mayoral primary election was safely past, the Regents commissioned a report by professors Daniel Koretz and Jennifer Jennings showing that the test questions had become familiar, leading to score inflation, and that the dramatic rise was not real.

Also, in an amusing turn of events, New York City won the Broad award in 2007 as the most improved urban district, right before the NAEP gains were released, showing that the city had made no gains on NAEP.

In 2010, Jennifer Medina of the New York Times wrote about the perils of over reliance on standardized tests and how it affected New York City in particular. 

She wrote:

When New York State made its standardized English and math tests tougher to pass this year, causing proficiency rates to plummet, it said it was relying on a new analysis showing that the tests had become too easy and that score inflation was rampant.

But evidence had been mounting for some time that the state’s tests, which have formed the basis of almost every school reform effort of the past decade, had serious flaws.

The fast rise and even faster fall of New York’s passing rates resulted from the effect of policies, decisions and missed red flags that stretched back more than 10 years and were laid out in correspondence and in interviews with city and state education officials, administrators and testing experts.

The process involved direct warnings from experts that went unheeded by the state, and a city administration that trumpeted gains in student performance despite its own reservations about how reliably the test gauged future student success.

It involved the state’s decision to create short, predictable exams and to release them publicly soon after they were given, making coaching easy and depriving test creators of a key tool: the ability to insert in each test questions for future exams. Next year, for the first time, the tests will not be released publicly.

It involved a national push for numbers-based accountability, begun under President George W. Bush and reinforced by President Obama. And it involved a mayor’s full embrace of testing as he sought to make his mark on the city, and then to get re-elected.

“They just kept upping the stakes with the scores, putting more pressure on the schools but not really looking at what it all means,” said Pedro Noguera, an education professor at New York University who has worked with the city’s Department of Education to help improve struggling schools.

New York has been a national model for how to carry out education reform, so its sudden decline in passing rates may be seen as a cautionary tale. The turnaround has also been a blow to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his chancellor, Joel I. Klein, who despite warnings that a laserlike focus on raising scores could make them less and less reliable, lashed almost every aspect of its school system to them. Schools were graded on how much their scores rose and threatened with being closed if they did not. The scores dictated which students were promoted or left back, and which teachers and principals would receive bonuses.

Even now, the city believes that the way it uses the tests is valid. The mayor and the chancellor have forcefully defended their students’ performance, noting that even after the changes this year, student scores are still better than they were in 2002. They have argued that their students’ progress is more important than the change in the passing rate, and that years of gains cannot be washed away because of a decision in Albany to require more correct answers from every student this year.

The test scores were even used for a new purpose this year: to help determine which teachers should receive tenure.

“This mayor uses data and metrics to determine whether policies are failing or succeeding,” said Howard Wolfson, the deputy mayor for government affairs and communications. He also helped run Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election campaign in 2009, using the city’s historic rise in test scores to make the case for a third term. “We believe that testing is a key factor for determining the success of schools and teachers.”

“Under any standard you look at,” he added, “we have improved the schools.”

But given all the flaws of the test, said Prof. Howard T. Everson of the City University of New York’s Center for Advanced Study in Education, it is hard to tell what those rising scores really meant.

“Teachers began to know what was going to be on the tests,” said Professor Everson, who was a member of a state testing advisory panel and who warned the state in 2008 that it might have a problem with score inflation. “Then you have to wonder, and folks like me wonder, is that real learning or not?”

New Generation of Tests

The problems that plagued New York’s standardized tests can be traced to the origin of the exams.

In 1996, New York set about creating tests for fourth and eighth graders as a way to measure whether schools were doing their jobs. A precursor to the widespread testing brought about by Mr. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, the tests replaced more basic exams that had been given in the same grades, which simply determined whether students needed remedial instruction. (The city had also given its own tests for many years.)

Teachers pushed back, saying they could gauge their students’ performance better than any mass-produced tests could. “There was a lot of resistance from throughout the education community to having the tests,” said Alan Ray, who was the chief spokesman for the State Education Department in the 1990s and in 2000, and retired this year after overseeing data for the office.

But education officials in New York, and many other states, were coming to the conclusion that some measurement system, no matter how limited, was necessary.

The officials sought advice from dozens of educators across New York to figure out what the tests should encompass, Mr. Ray said. Teachers and principals asked that the standards be specific, to make it clear what they were expected to teach at each grade level, and superintendents pleaded to keep the tests relatively short so that students would not spend days filling in bubbles. The state obliged both requests.

The decision to keep the tests narrow and short — the fifth-grade math test, for example, had 34 questions this year — would have a lasting impact, said Daniel Koretz, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education who specializes in assessment systems. The same types of questions would be trotted out every year, he said.

“In many cases you could not write an unpredictable question no matter how hard you tried,” Professor Koretz said. He oversaw the study of New York’s tests that led to the state’s conclusion that they had become too easy to pass.

The state also continued making tests public after they were administered. Coupled with the questions’ predictability, the public release of the tests, which started long before the nationwide accountability movement, provided teachers with ready-made practice exams….

A Mayor Chases Results

The state tests’ flaws would not become evident for years. But by 2001, the tests had a champion.

During his first campaign, Mr. Bloomberg said that education was his top priority. He pledged to take control of the city’s public schools, then under the supervision of the Board of Education, which had been ridiculed for budget troubles and stagnant academic performance.

Projecting the image of a bottom-line-oriented, pragmatic businessman, Mr. Bloomberg latched on to test scores as a clear way of seeing just how well students were doing.

“If four years from now reading scores and math scores aren’t significantly better,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a radio interview in 2001, “then I will look in the mirror and say that I have been a failure. I’ve never failed at anything yet, and I don’t plan to fail at that.”

After Mr. Bloomberg persuaded the Legislature to give him control of the schools, he appointed Mr. Klein, a former Justice Department lawyer and media executive, as his chancellor. Mr. Klein was seen as a technocrat who was eager and able to produce tangible results, the kind that could be measured.

Scores in the city and state were on their way up. In 2004, for example, the proportion of fourth graders in the city meeting math standards increased to 68 percent, up 16 percentage points since 2001. Only 42 percent of eighth graders met that mark, but that was still a significant improvement from just a few years earlier. By 2009, that rate would jump nearly 30 points.

“What is encouraging is that for two or three years in a row now, the tests have gone in the same direction — up,” the mayor said on a radio show in October 2004. “So there’s reason to believe we’re headed to the correct place.”

In 2003, Mr. Bloomberg ended the practice of “social promotion” in certain grades, requiring students performing at the lowest levels on the tests be held back unless they attended summer school and showed progress on a retest. That year, Mr. Klein released a list of 200 successful schools, the only places where teachers would not have to follow the citywide math and English curriculums. The list was primarily based on test scores.

More and more of the mayor’s educational initiatives were linked to the scores. They were used to help decide which schools should be closed and replaced with new, smaller schools. The new A-through-F grading system for schools was based primarily on how their students improved on the tests. Teachers and principals earned bonuses of up to $25,000 if their schools’ scores rose. Teachers’ annual evaluations and tenure decisions are partially dependent on test results.

Each new policy was met with denunciations from the teachers’ union or from education experts like Diane Ravitch. Ms. Ravitch, a supporter of standardized testing when she was an adviser to the Clinton and Bush administrations, became one of the biggest critics, arguing that schools were devoting too much time to the pursuit of high scores.

“If they are not learning social studies but their reading scores are going up, they are not getting an education,” Ms. Ravitch said in 2005, as the mayor coasted to re-election.

The mayor and chancellor dismissed these criticisms as the hidebound defenses of an old, failed system devoid of meaningful standards. But some questions were also being raised by people close to the administration.

In the Education Department headquarters on Chambers Street, some officials argued that the A-through-F system of grading schools should incorporate not only the English and math tests, but also the science and social studies exams given by the state. “We wanted to draw this as broadly as possible,” said a former school official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid publicly disagreeing with Mr. Klein.

But after months of running models and tweaking formulas, Mr. Klein decided to stick with the two core subjects. After all, he often argued, if students could not master essential math and English skills, it would be impossible for them to grasp other concepts.

Dr. Noguera, the N.Y.U. education professor and adviser to the city, applauded Mr. Klein for creating a grading system that rewarded improvement from year to year so that schools in poor neighborhoods had the same chance of achieving a good grade as those in wealthier areas.

But it also was risky, Dr. Noguera said. “That got schools fixated on how to raise scores, not looking for more authentic learning,” he said.

Dr. Noguera expressed his views publicly and to some of Mr. Klein’s deputies, but never directly told the chancellor, he said.

Mr. Klein said in recent interviews that while the tests were imperfect, they were still the best measurements available for a school system that previously had no yardsticks. They also were not the only signs proving the city had been making progress, he said: On more difficult federal tests given to a sample of fourth and eighth graders, the city had steadily improved.

And the city’s main goal, he said, was not simply giving out laurels for students’ scoring 3s (“proficient”) and 4s (“advanced”) on the state tests.

Instead, its system of school grades and teacher incentives gave considerable weight to scores that showed improvement from year to year at all levels.

“Nobody else was doing this,” Mr. Klein said. “We never said it was good enough to get to passing and just stay there.”

In 2006, the state added tests for the third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades, in order to align with the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Scores jumped in 2007.

There were improvements at every grade level across the state and in New York City, where 65 percent of all students met state standards in math, an improvement of eight percentage points in one year.

“I’m happy, thrilled — ecstatic, I think, is a better word,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the time. “The hard work going on in our schools is really paying off.”

After Mr. Bloomberg’s first full term as mayor, the new scores seemed to ratify his claims of success. They also raised more alarms.

As a superintendent in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Kathleen Cashin had seen several schools improve throughout the early part of the decade. But when she saw the sudden jump, she said, she was shocked.

“I said to my intimate circle of staff, this cannot be possible,” Ms. Cashin recalled. “I knew how much effort and how much planning any little improvement would take, and not all of these schools had done any of it.”

But Ms. Cashin, who retired in February, held her tongue at the time. Asked why she did not take up her concerns with Mr. Klein or his deputies, she said, “I didn’t have their ear.”

A Proposal for a Fix

The following winter, Professor Koretz, of Harvard, and Professor Everson, of CUNY, who was a member of a state testing advisory group, sent a memo to state education officials.

“Research has shown that when educators are pressured to raise scores on conventional achievement tests, some improve instruction, while others turn to inappropriate methods of test preparation that inflate scores,” they wrote in the Feb. 5, 2008, memo. “In some cases, the inflation of scores has been extreme.”

The researchers proposed to devise a kind of audit. While tests tended to be similar from year to year, they would add to each exam some questions that did not resemble those from previous years. If a class performed well on the main section of the test but poorly on the added questions, that would be evidence that scores were inflated by test preparation. If a class performed well on both, the researchers wrote, that teacher might have methods worth emulating.

In addition, they wrote, such a system would give teachers “less incentive to engage in inappropriate test preparation and more incentive to undertake the much harder task of improving instruction.”

State education officials, the professors said, did not give them a hearing.

The 2008 results showed even more large gains — 74 percent of city students were deemed proficient in math, an increase of nine points in one year; and the city’s passing rate in reading was now 58 percent, up from 51 percent two years earlier. Statewide, the passing rates jumped to 81 percent in math and 69 percent in reading.

Professor Koretz and Professor Everson wrote another memo in September 2008, again proposing to create a way to make test results more reliable. But the idea went nowhere….

The city’s Department of Education constantly mines test score data for patterns to show where improvement is happening and where it is needed. In 2008, it noticed an incongruity: Eighth graders who scored at least a 3 on the state math exam had only a 50 percent chance of graduating from high school four years later with a Regents diploma, which requires a student to pass a certain number of tests in various subjects and is considered the minimum qualification for college readiness.

The city realized that the test results were not as reliable as the state was leading people to believe.

Mr. Klein and several of his deputies spoke by phone with Merryl H. Tisch, the vice chancellor of the Board of Regents, and Mr. Mills, trying to persuade them to create a statewide accountability system similar to the city’s, one that gave improvement at least as much weight as the score itself.

The state said it would consider moving to such a system, but would need more time.

Neither the city nor state publicly disclosed the concerns about the scores. By then, students across the state were preparing for the 2009 tests, filling in bubbles on mock answer sheets, using at least three years of previous state tests as guides.

The scores arrived in May, and with them, the bluntest warning yet.

Just before the results were released, a member of the Regents named Betty Rosa called Ms. Tisch, who had recently become chancellor.

Ms. Rosa, who had been a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Bronx for nearly three decades, said the unprecedented high scores simply seemed too good to be true. She suggested the unthinkable: the scores were so unbelievable, she said, that the state should not publicly release them.

“The question was really are we telling the public the truth,” Ms. Rosa said in a recent interview. Ms. Tisch, she said, relayed that she, too, found the scores suspicious, but that it would be impossible to withhold them. “It was like a train that was already in motion and no way to stop it,” Ms. Rosa said.

The English test scores showed 69 percent of city students passing. Mr. Bloomberg called the results “nothing short of amazing and exactly what this country needs.”

“We have improved the test scores in English,” he continued, “and we expect the same results in math in a couple of weeks, every single year for seven years.” Four weeks later, it was announced that 82 percent of city students had passed the math tests.

Because of the widespread improvement in the scores, 84 percent of all public schools received an A in the city’s grading system, something Mr. Klein said he later regretted. This year, the city limited the number of A’s to 25 percent of schools.

The 2009 numbers came out as the mayor was trying to accomplish two goals: to persuade the Legislature to give the mayor control of the schools for another seven years; and to convince city voters that he deserved a third term.

Mr. Bloomberg’s opponent, Comptroller William C. Thompson, had once been president of the Education Board.

“Mike Bloomberg changed that system,” said one of the mayor’s campaign advertisements. “Now, record graduation rates. Test scores up, violence down. So when you compare apples to apples, Thompson offers politics as usual. Mike Bloomberg offers progress.”

In his debates, Mr. Bloomberg hammered home the theme. “If anybody thinks that the schools were better when Bill ran them, they should vote for him,” he said in one face-off. “And if anybody thinks they’re better now, I’d be honored to have their vote.”

Indeed, according to exit polls, 57 percent of those who said education was their primary concern voted for Mr. Bloomberg, who won the election by a five-point margin.

Mr. Wolfson, the deputy mayor and 2009 campaign strategist, said the mayor had no regrets about focusing on the exams as a matter of policy, and during the election.

“What’s the converse?” he said. “The converse is that we don’t test and we have no way of judging success or failure. Either you believe in standards or tests, or you don’t — and life is not like that. There are tests all the time.”

Ms. Tisch, in releasing the 2009 test results, had not heeded Ms. Rosa’s radical request. But the very day she put out the English test results, she began openly acknowledging doubts about the scores, irking the mayor and chancellor, who privately seethed that she was seeking to undermine their success. “As a board, we will ask whether the test is getting harder or easier,” she said.

Although the Regents did not immediately opt to create an entirely new test, Ms. Tisch and David Steiner, the new education commissioner, asked Professor Koretz, who had been rebuffed in previous requests, to analyze the ones that were in use. His conclusion — and that of another researcher, Jennifer L. Jennings — was that the tests had become too easy, and hence the scores were inflated. That led the State Education Department to raise the number of correct answers required to pass each test.

The state intends to rewrite future tests to encompass a broader range of material, and will stop publicly releasing them.

“We came in here saying we have to stop lying to our kids,” Ms. Tisch said in a recent interview. “We have to be able to know what they do and do not know.”

Bloomberg was first elected to the mayoralty in 2001. There was a two-term limit. He ran again in 2005, for what should have been his second and last term, and won easily. In 2009, he used his vast resources to persuade the City Council to vote to give him and themselves a third term. And that he is how he qualified to run for a third term and used his education record as a reason to be re-elected.
Now, after all this investment in testing, test prep, interim assessments, etc. what were the results?
New York City has shown no gains in reading on NAEP from 2003-2019, in either fourth or eighth grades.
Make of it what you will.
If Bloomberg is the Democratic candidate against Trump, I will vote for him.
But please don’t believe the boasting about the New York City education miracle.
It never happened.
An update on some of the individuals mentioned in the New York Times’ 2010 article. Betty Rosa is now Chancellor of the State Board of Regents. Kathleen Cashin is a member of the Board of Regents. Meryl Tisch is now on the board of the State University of New York (which has the power to authorize new charter schools, including those of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy chain). David Steiner–now a professor at Johns Hopkins University– served for two years as State Commissioner, during which time he approved Mayor Bloomberg’s choice to succeed Joel Klein as NYC Chancellor, a retired magazine publisher named Cathie Black, who lasted three months. Steiner was also in charge of the State Education Department when it won a Race to the Top grant and committed the state to using student test scores to evaluate teachers, increasing the number of charter schools, and adopting the Common Core standards. These changes, in turn, created the parent-led Opt Out movement, in which parents refused to let their children take the state tests and grew to represent 20% of the eligible students. John King succeeded David Steiner and eventually replaced Arne Duncan in the last year of President Obama’s second term. When Joel Klein stepped down, he hired a Department of Education vendor named Wireless Generation and created a technology company called Amplify. Rupert Murdoch bought Amplify and invested a reputed $1 billion; newspaper stories predicted that Amplify would usher in a new age of hardware and software. However, the biggest sale of Amplify tablets and software was made to Guilford, North Carolina, purchased with Race to the Top funding; it turned into  a disaster when chargers melted and other problems emerged. Guilford canceled the contract. Murdoch, having lost about $500 million, put the company up for sale. Laurene Powell Jobs bought it, and Amplify is now part of her Emerson Collective, selling “personalized learning.” Klein works for an online healthcare company called OSCAR, co-founded by Joshua Kushner, brother of Jared Kushner.

Mike Bloomberg has this problem with minorities because of his many years of telling the police in New York City to stop black and brown youths and frisk them, without cause.

When he began his campaign for the presidency, he went to a black church and apologized for stop-and-frisk.

But the damage had been done.

The Washington Post found one of what must be many videos where Bloomberg touted his stop-and-frisk policy and credited that policy with reducing murders and gun crime (as Charles Blow pointed out, the policy was completely ineffectual).

When stop-and-frisk was declared unconstitutional by the courts, there was no rise in crime. In fact, major felonies are far lower today than they were when Bloomberg was mayor. In the last year of Bloomberg’s mayoralty, there were 419 murders; last year there were 319 (no stop-and-frisk in place).

Mike Bloomberg is running an unorthodox and unprecedented campaign, in which he’s skipping the first four states but carpet-bombing the rest of the country with a quarter-billion dollars’ worth of spending. This has allowed him to run his campaign virtually unchallenged — and gain some real momentum.

The result: a poll Monday that showed the former New York mayor hitting 15 percent nationally. The result of that: No more free ride.

Bloomberg’s opponents on Monday began circulating audio of a 2015 speech in which he speaks in rather unvarnished terms about New York’s stop-and-frisk policy targeting minorities. The basics of what Bloomberg said: Minorities are responsible for the vast majority of violent crime, and thus their communities were the logical targets for warrantless searches.

Now, not only are Bloomberg’s Democratic opponents circulating the clip, but President Trump is, too.

Trump, who is reported to be wary of going toe-to-toe with Bloomberg and his essentially limitless resources, tweeted the clip Tuesday morning, saying, “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!” (The tweet was later deleted, though it was captured in this Internet archive, and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., retweeted the clip.)

Trump is in a glass house on this issue. Not only is his record on racial issues what it is — most notably on the Central Park Five and Charlottesville — but he has vocally supported the stop-and-frisk policy. During the 2016 campaign, he proposed bringing it nationwide, and he reiterated his support as recently as 2018. He could say Bloomberg’s description of the policy is crass, but it was widely known that the policy did pretty much what Bloomberg said it did, and Trump backed it.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Stop and frisk works. Instead of criticizing @NY_POLICE Chief Ray Kelly, New Yorkers should be thanking him for keeping NY safe.

636 people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

NYC politicians better stop pandering–ending stop & frisk would be a disaster. http://bit.ly/19xlEja 

Thugs’ stop-and-frisk fear revealed in biggest gun seizure in city history

Even the gunrunners know stop-and-frisk works. The NYPD took down two smuggling rings that used cheap Chinatown buses to funnel a terrifying array of illegal weapons here from the South — and

nypost.com

But Trump’s standing on the issue aside, this is the day Bloomberg’s campaign had to know was coming, and the questions about it are thoroughly valid. Bloomberg finally disowned the stop-and-frisk policy when he began running for president, but he had previously defended it to the hilt. It’s not unreasonable to consider this his biggest obstacle to the Democratic nomination, especially given the important role minority voters will play after Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire.

This is the video: https://youtu.be/1bbjB3jVGRU

Bloomberg said earlier that “it’s controversial, but first thing is, all of your — 95 percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York. It’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.”

Bloomberg’s team sought to prevent such audio from coming out of the speech by blocking recordings of it, according to the Aspen Times.

Some commenters on Twitter think that Trump deleted his tweet calling Bloomberg a racist re “stop-and-frisk” because he was afraid some of his voters might switch to Bloomberg!

Four years ago, Michael Bloomberg spoke candidly in Aspen about his stop-and-frisk policies that targeted young black  and Hispanic men, but he immediately requested that it not be released to the public. Although he was proud of his policy, he knew there was something that wasn’t right about targeting young minority males.

Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote about the racist, disastrous policy of stop and frisk.

Let me plant the stake now: No black person — or Hispanic person or ally of people of color — should ever even consider voting for Michael Bloomberg in the primary. His expansion of the notoriously racist stop-and-frisk program in New York, which swept up millions of innocent New Yorkers, primarily young black and Hispanic men, is a complete and nonnegotiable deal killer.

Stop-and-frisk, pushed as a way to get guns and other contraband off the streets, became nothing short of a massive, enduring, city-sanctioned system of racial terror…

In 2002, the first year Bloomberg was mayor, 97,296 of these stops were recorded. They surged during Bloomberg’s tenure to a peak of 685,724 stops in 2011, near the end of his third term. Nearly 90 percent of the people who were stopped and frisked were innocent of any wrongdoing.

A New York Times analysis of stops on “eight odd blocks” in the overwhelmingly black neighborhood of Brownsville in Brooklyn found close to 52,000 stops over four years, which averaged out to “nearly one stop a year for every one of the 14,000 residents of these blocks.”

In 2009, there were more than 580,000 stop-and-frisks, a record at the time. Of those stopped, 55 percent were black, 32 percent Hispanic and only 10 percent white. Most were young, and almost all were male. Eighty-eight percent were innocent. For reference, according to the Census Bureau, there were about 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year.

Not only that, but those who were stopped had their names entered into a comprehensive police database, even if they were never accused of committing a crime. As Donna Lieberman, then the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in 2010, the database became a place “where millions of completely innocent, predominantly black and Latinos have been turned into permanent police suspects.”

The state outlawed the keeping of these electronic records on the innocent, over the strong objections of Bloomberg and his police chief…

Bloomberg’s crime argument was dubious. The Columbia Law School professor Jeffrey Fagan produced a report that became part of a class-action lawsuit against the city in 2010. It found that: “[s]eizures of weapons or contraband are extremely rare. Overall, guns are seized in less than 1 percent of all stops: 0.15 percent … Contraband, which may include weapons but also includes drugs or stolen property, is seized in 1.75 percent of all stops.”

Carol Burris wrote about Michael Bloomberg’s education ideas several years ago when she was a high school principal on Long Island in New York.

You have to love New York City’s mayor. Michael Bloomberg speaks his mind, never holding back. While most self-proclaimed school reformers do the Dance of the Seven Veils, slowly revealing their agenda, the mayor jumps up on stage and gives you the ‘full monty.’ He’s sure he has the solution for all that ails New York’s schools, and he is not shy about sharing.

Last Thursday, he told an MIT conference audience how to quickly improve public schools. “I would, if I had the ability – which nobody does really – to just design a system and say, ‘ex cathedra, this is what we’re going to do,’ you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.”

Now that’s an interesting proposal to promote college readiness: lecture halls for third graders.

The mayor never cites any research to support his claims about what’s a good deal for students. Nor does he explain a sensible way to determine the bottom half of teachers — the ones who would be sent packing. But he should be forgiven on this point since there is, in fact, no such research and no such sensible way.

Yet as astounding as his statement might be, the mayor’s solution is not pulled from thin air. In fact, his assumption is the foundational belief on which the State of New York has designed its teacher and principal evaluation system.

The evaluation system, APPR, actually assumes that half of all teachers are not effective (ineffective or developing), although there is no evidence that that is the case. In fact, the State Education Department has created a bell curve evaluative system on which to place teachers to make it so. Now that, Mayor Mike, is ex cathedra.

Mayor Mike loved test scores and data. The fact that New York City made no more progress on national tests than any other city during his twelve years in office says something about his shallow knowledge of education. He left behind a school system that had gone through four major reorganizations; that relied on business consultants rather than educators for major decisions; that fired many teachers and principals and closed many schools; that introduced dozens of new selective schools; that won the title of the most racially segregated school system in the nation. He was really good at disruption, not so much at actually improving education.

It was a curious fact that when billionaire Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City for 12 years, he had complete control of the public schools yet did not have any fresh ideas about how to improve them.

This should not be surprising, because he was never an educator. He hired another non-educator–Joel Klein–to be his chancellor. The two of them relied heavily on McKinsey and other consultants to guide them. They hired lots of MBAs to staff top  positions. They hoped to adopt a corporate style of organization, which made sense because they had low regard for actual educators.

He adopted every aspect of No Child Left Behind: high-stakes testing, closing schools, firing teachers and principals. He loved opening small schools, and when they failed, he reopened them with a new name so they could start over.

New York City was a faithful replication of NCLB, with punishments and rewards leading the way.

His main idea was to hand schools over to private charter operators, assuming that they would have better ideas about how to run schools than he did.

Some of the charter operators made a point of excluding low-performing students, which artificially boosted their test scores.

Some closed their enrollments in the fourth grade, so they would not have to take in new students after that point.

Some kicked out kids who were in need of special services.

Bloomberg’s favorite charter chain was Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy, which used all of these tricks to get astonishingly high test scores.

Bloomberg was obsessed with data and test scores. He even adopted Jeb Bush’s policy of letter grades for schools (which his successor Bill DeBlasio abolished).

The New York City charter industry practiced all the tricks of raising test scores by manipulating the student population.

In addition, the charter sector mastered the ability to organize mass rallies, flooding legislative halls with students and parents, pleading for more funding for new charters (which they could not attend since they were already enrolled in charters).

So pleased was Bloomberg with his charter policy that it is now the centerpiece of his national education agenda.

He doesn’t care about the nearly 90% of kids who are enrolled in public schools.

He believes in privatization.

If elected, he could retain Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education and maintain continuity with Trump’s education agenda.

Harold Meyerson adds a few reasons to believe that Michael Bloomberg is not the right candidate to beat Trump:

ON TAP Today from the American Prospect

January 2, 2020

Meyerson on TAP

Bloomberg: The Manchurian Candidate. If there’s anyone out there who believes Michael Bloomberg would be a strong candidate to unseat Donald Trump, a very well-documented story in today’s Washington Post should tank any such delusions. Some of the particular weaknesses that Post reporter Michael Kranish documents have been in plain view for some time, while others are getting their first exposure, but no one has assembled them into a coherent narrative comparable to Kranish’s.

In case you didn’t know, Bloomberg is up to his neck in business relations with China and the Chinese government. His company has had offices in Beijing for the past 25 years and has made a tidy sum selling its computers and financial information to the nation’s multitude of capitalists and to its Leninist-capitalist government. Two years ago, the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index elected to include Chinese government bonds in its listings, enabling Western investors to fund the Chinese government’s myriad endeavors. Kranish reports that financial experts believe that $150 billion in such investments will flow to China in the next couple of years.

 

Also in 2018, Bloomberg initiated the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, his very own Asian-oriented Davos, which held its meeting that year in Singapore, and its 2019 confab in Beijing.

 

Not surprisingly, seldom is heard a discouraging word from Bloomberg about the Chinese government. One searches in vain for his criticisms of the government’s mass incarceration of the Uighurs or its threats to Hong Kong. On the contrary, he told a television audience that Chinese President Xi Jinping “is not a dictator.”

In short, Bloomberg is the man who opened the door to major American investments in the Chinese government. Can I see the hands of those who think this will help him if (as, happily, will not happen) he’s the designated Democrat to take on Trump? ~ HAROLD MEYERSON