Michael Bloomberg says the US public school system is failing and blames teachers’ union leaders for resisting a return to classroom instruction “long after it was clear classrooms were safe”.
The former New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has described the public education system as “failing” in a editorial titled “A Wake-up Call for Public Education” which was released on Thursday, after an analysis found that 1.3 million students have left public schools since the start of the pandemic.
Bloomberg said the message to educators and elected officials could hardly be clearer: “Too many public schools are failing, parents are voting with their feet, and urgent, bold action is needed.”
“So far, however, the only government response has been to spend more money – too much of which has gone to everyone but our children,” he continued.
Bloomberg also criticized teachers’ union leaders for “resisting a return to classroom teaching long after it became clear that classrooms were safe.”
In the op-ed, Bloomberg cited a recent national analysis that “contained a deeply troubling finding that has generated little public debate when it should cause an outcry.”
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the public education system as “failing” in an op-ed titled “A Wake Up Call for Public Education” that was published Thursday.
Chicago’s Pulaski International School closed for a period in January 2022 after the teachers’ union voted to return to remote learning
“A recent national analysis contained a deeply troubling discovery that has generated little public debate when it should cause an outcry: nearly 1.3 million students have left public schools since the start of the pandemic,” wrote Bloomberg.
“Most states have seen declining enrollment for two straight years. In New York, K-12 enrollment dropped 9%,” he continued.
Bloomberg called distance learning a “disaster” and said that, according to an analysis, “the first year of the pandemic left students an average of five months behind in math and four months in reading, with gaps much more important for low-income schools”.
He noted that now students have “fleed public schools in record numbers, states are paying more to educate fewer children.”
“It could have been acceptable if the students showed great improvement. Instead, we pay more for failure,” he added.
“A recent national analysis contained a deeply troubling discovery that has generated little public debate when it should cause outcry: nearly 1.3 million students have left public schools since the start of the pandemic,” wrote Bloomberg.
The former mayor’s solution is the public charter school system, which he says is moving in the opposite direction, “thanks to their success, even though their federal funding hasn’t increased in the past four years. “.
He pointed out that from From 2020 to 2021, nearly 240,000 new students enrolled in charter schools, a 7% year-over-year increase.
“Many charter schools across the country have long waiting lists, and it’s no wonder,” he wrote. “In states and cities with strong accountability laws, charters have been proven to outperform district schools in school.”
“A recent national analysis found that districts with a higher share of charters had higher reading and math scores as well as higher graduation rates on average,” he continued. “Other research has shown that the benefits are particularly pronounced for black, Latino, and low-income students.”
However, charter schools remain underfunded, he wrote, leaving students to fill public schools, which he says will continue to fail students and future generations unless there is have a reform.
“The idea that we would allow public charter school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to be deprived of great teachers so that we can staff schools with dwindling enrollment as if full makes no sense – until politics is considered,” Bloomberg wrote. “And then it makes perfect sense, because so many elected officials are beholden to union leaders who oppose charters.”