More so than crime, the booming city economy, and the West Side stadium, the sleeping dragon in this year's mayoral race is education. The Mayor's ambitious plan to overhaul the Department of Education (including attempts to reduce class size by breaking up schools and implementing the third- and fifth-grade wide tests) have been met with extremely mixed results. The teachers' union, the UFT, has recently had a field day by calling attention the mayor's and school chancellor's record, by giving them report cards, with 8 F's and 2 D's in the 10 categories. UFT President Randi Weingarten said, "Frankly, there was one category that I expected them to get at least a B or a C in, about raising awareness or public education, and even that category they flunked." City teachers recently had a rally, to mark their two years with a contract. They even (rightly, one would say) used the test scores gains as proof that they have remained committed to students, while the city has turned its back on the teachers' needs. When it's primary or general election time, pay close attention to what candidates are saying about education. Gothamist believes the Bloomberg administration could be doing more, but changing the biggest school system in the country, without the resources it deserves, does take time; we're going to keep our ears and eyes peeled.
Last week, the Observer had a profile about CIty Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, who is the head of the education committee, and the Times had a story about how students' discipline issues cause many city teachers to quit.