As Michael Bloomberg’s term comes to an end, his most controversial decisions that transformed New York City schools are reviewed. Being the first to have mayoral control over NYC education, Bloomberg created more than 100 charter schools, increased the number of career and technical schools, and improved SAT performance among high school seniors.
According to Queens Chronicle, current Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott discusses achievements in education during Bloomberg’s administration including the increase in charter schools:
Another factor that helped improve school reputation, Walcott said, was the increase in charter schools. When the Bloomberg administration took office, the charter movement was still in its infancy. Mayoral control gave Bloomberg’s first schools chancellor, Joel Klein, power to explore charter schools as an option.
“As Joel looked at the system, he concluded a number of things. One of them was he wasn’t going to be able to fix the school system from the top down,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “He saw that the school was the unit of change.”
He said the opening of new charters — 175 since Bloomberg took office — provided more choice for parents, especially in areas with failing schools where parents were struggling to send their children to better schools outside their communities. Merriman said charters have had trouble keeping up with demand. More than 70,000 students are now in charter schools, with 50,000 parents on waiting lists.