The education of Bill de Blasio

Steven Sanders

Steven Sanders

By Former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Education has dominated the headlines in state and local politics for the past year. So after 18 months and the end of this school year it is fair and appropriate to grade this mayor and his administration on the job that they are doing.

Ed Koch famously asked “How am I doing?” so now it is time to answer that question for the current mayor… so far.

• Attendance and punctuality…D The mayor has become famous for not appearing on time for most anything. He has kept important constituencies waiting, in the rain, in the cold and in vain.

• Socialization… C  The mayor seems intent on engaging in unnecessary fights with charter school advocates, business groups, the Police Department and even the presumptive Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. As for his fighting with the governor, there is no question that de Blasio has been unmercifully treated and even provoked by Cuomo. But since the mayor fancies himself as a master politician, he should have found a better way to express his angst.

• Homework… C- The mayor has been absent from the city on too many work days pursuing political matters in other parts of the country.

• History… Incomplete. The mayor seems to want to make history but does not remember that no mayor has gone beyond City Hall to bigger and better things in recent memory.

• Chemistry… C  The mayor has alienated ordinary New Yorkers as well as his peers in politics with his sometimes aloof manners and his apparent inattention to the mundane details of governing.

• Philosophy… B+ The mayor perceives that New Yorkers must all be given equal opportunity and an attainable ladder to success and adequate housing and wages. He is right.

• Economics… B The State Comptroller reports that NYC has a balanced budget this year with a surplus going into next year. The “out years” though are more questionable. What if Wall Street recedes?

So with another school year at its conclusion the overall grade for Bill de Blasio and his administration is a disappointing “C.” In order for him to be promoted to a second term as mayor in 2017, much remedial work will need to be done.

2 thoughts on “The education of Bill de Blasio

  1. When I was a student many years ago, we referred to that as a “Gentleman’s C”. That contrasts with the Mayor’s confrontational stye. I’ll give him a pass on that, however, because of his B+ on philosophy and the polarization of the current political environment.

    That said, I do share your wish that the Mayor “tone it down” a bit and use more negotiation and fewer argumentative methods to move our City forward.

  2. Re: “The Education of Bill de Blasio” by Steven Sanders

    No one is honest about the failure of education in NYC and the other large cities, Having attended K – 12 in public schools during the 1950s and 1960s, the teachers, in the main, were mediocre with few exceptions. But, I learned even though I was thoroughly bored. Why?

    Growing up in the Bronx my family and community put enormous importance on education. And, it was known that almost all od us were going to college — n question. These were ubiquitous cultural values and a one parent household was quite rare.

    But, now the demographics have changed radically and the schools were the underclass attends are filled with dysfunctional families imbedded in dysfunctional “communities” lacking positive male role models.

    Sure it’s easy to ignore reality and use PC to blame the mayor, governor, the board of education ,,, and of course, the teachers and their unions.

    Problems can only be solved when they are approached with forthrightness. It is the culture of the new demographics which must be addressed. An idea: in schools that aren’t working, flood then with “social worker types” to act as mentors for the disadvantaged students.

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