Bloomberg makes a bad-old-days argument against the UFT

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Bloomberg and Cathie Black in 2011. (CSA via Flickr)
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Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded harshly to a teachers union proposal to water down mayoral control of New York City's public schools, one of the mayor's signature first-term accomplishments.

"I noticed the [United Federation of Teachers] wants to roll back mayoral control," he said, during his regular Friday morning appearance on the John Gambling radio show. "You know, when they ran the school system it was a disgrace. It was falling apart. Buildings were falling apart. Books never got delivered. The minority kids got so far left behind, you had trouble finding them."

"The charter school they're running is closing," noted Gambling.

"No," said Bloomberg. "The state gave them another year. ... No other charter school would have gotten that. That was just an out-and-out political cave. They should never have done that. They should be ashamed of themselves for doing that. And they'll be annoyed now. They should be annoyed. They should look [in] a mirror and see what they did."

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For the record, thus far, none of Democrats running for mayor and seeking the UFT's endorsement have yet come out in favor of its proposal, although only Christine Quinn has said outright that she opposes it. (John Liu came closest, saying the union plan bears some resemblance to what he himself has already proposed.)

All of them have in the past indicated that they would not seek to overturn mayoral control.

"When the UFT ran the school system it was terrible," continued Bloomberg, referring to the time before mayoral control when the system was run by the old Board of Education. "Today, all the metrics have turned around."

UPDATE: U.F.T. president Michael Mulgrew issues the following response: “The Mayor would love to make this an issue with the UFT, but in fact it is parents who in every opinion poll say they are tired of ten years of Bloomberg mismanagement of the schools. Bloomberg can talk about the "metrics" under his watch, but when 80% of the graduates of his schools need remediation before they can go to college, he doesn't have much to boast about.”