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Monday, March 12, 2007

Comptroller Thompson OnThe Bloomberg/Klein Education Record

The New York Observer's blob, Politiker has the text of Comptroller William Thompson's thoughtful, devastating, critique of the sorry education record of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein. It's an excellent speech which deserves the attention of all of us who care about public education. It is worth a click to read.


Daniel Millstone said...

Somehow the url didn't post. Here it is in text as (I hope) a hotlink

Leonie Haimson said...

The figures the Comptroller cites for 2001 and 2002 are higher than reported by other sources and the 2003 to 2006 figures are much lower.

Erin Einhorn of the Daily news has reported $120 million in no-bid contracts in 2005 alone.

According to Erin, the discrepancy probably results from the long lag between the time when the DOE grants contracts and when they’re filed with the Comptroller’s office.

For "05 and "06 contracts, Einhorn consulted the DOE website, and it’s not clear whether whether the Comptrollers office has received formal notification of many of these no-bid contracts.

So the big reduction that the Comptroller was claiming credit for in his speech probably never have happened . Wonder why the Comptroller’s people can’t check the DOE website, if a reporter can....

Patrick Sullivan said...

I agree this speech is an excellent critique of some of the disturbing practices of the DoE under Bloomberg. I am less convinced that Comptroller Thompson is a true champion of public school kids. In the fight for equitable access to playing fields on Randalls Island, Thompson initially opposed the Mayor's plan to grant a sweetheart lease to 20 private schools for exclusive access. Then, in the 11th hour, he defected the wide coalition that had formed to oppose the deal and actually voted for it. In contrast, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer cast his vote against what he called a "raw deal" for public school kids. Our kids need more politicians who will stand up for them.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your assessment about Thompson on Randall's Island. The Mayor had the votes from the start, and there was no changing that. Instead, Thompson spoke publicly about his concerns about the limited access and worked with Melissa and Scott to urge the administration to make adjustments. In the end, he was able to secure much more than the administration - mainly, the parks department - was willing to initially allow. He held off on his vote until the very last minute when City Hall agreed to make a series of changes. So he deserves praise for bringing the plan closer to what community residents had sought. It's a shame that his substantial efforts were lost on those who wanted all or nothing.

Patrick Sullivan said...

The Mayor lowered the portion given to the private schools to 66% in mid-December so exactly what "series of changes" did Thompson's defection gain for public school kids? There's a promise to bus some kids to a small league starting this fall. But here's what Juan Gonzalez wrote in the Daily News:

Where will those public school teams play this fall, since the Manhattan private schools already occupy 34 of 36 existing fields on the island?

"We're hoping Parks will figure that out by the fall," a top aide to Thompson said yesterday. "They may throw some diamonds down and make some new fields."

I think your "series of changes" wasn't much more than some cover for Thompson. Stringer called it a "raw deal for public school kids" and rightfully voted against it. It's much harder to get away with doing the wrong thing when the guy next to you does the right thing.