Five major candidates for mayor discussed the state of the NYC education system under the management of Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 30 at a CSA forum moderated by Liz Willen, executive director the Hechinger Institute and Pedro Noguera, NYU professor of education. They went on to offer their own education visions in detail.
The event, held at Baruch College's Mason Hall, drew more than 600 hundred educators, students, elected officials, and community members from around the boroughs. Hot-button issues such as the teacher evaluation system, co-locations of schools, and charter schools were debated.
"Yes, I think we made progress under Mayor Bloomberg," said Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker about Bloomberg's control of schools. Her remark brought hisses from the crowd.
Comptroller Bill Thompson criticized the mayor for implementing multiple re-organizations in the Department of Education, which has resulted in confusion among parents and the education community.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was adamant about articulating his progressive ideals. Mr. de Blasio said he would hike taxes on the wealthy to increase day care seats and provide early childhood services. Tom Allon questioned DeBalsio's plan and said raising taxes is unnecessary and would encourage the wealthy to leave NYC.
The candidates did, however, agree on one thing – the need of support systems and resources for principals so they can be effective school administrators and instructional leaders.