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Bloomberg warns US public school system is failing, blames teachers’ unions in part

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Michael Bloomberg warned that the public school system is failing and that parents are “voting with their feet” in an op-ed published Thursday.

The op-ed, titled “A Wake-Up Call for Public Education,” described the public education system as “failing” and noted that public school enrollment from K-12 is rapidly declining across the country.

“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.


Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg waves after speaking at a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“Most states have seen declining enrollment for two straight years. In New York, K-12 enrollment is down 9%,” he continued.

Bloomberg also noted that “the law of supply and demand” dictates that “a sharp reduction in student numbers leads to a corresponding reduction in school budgets.”

“Otherwise, at this rate, the public will soon be paying teachers to lead half-empty classrooms,” Bloomberg added.

As for declining public school enrollment across America, Bloomberg says, “The message to educators couldn’t be clearer: Too many public schools are failing, parents are voting with their feet, and bold action is urgently needed. necessary”.

“So far, however, the only government response has been to spend more money – too much of which has gone to everyone but our children.”

Bloomberg also criticized teachers’ union leaders for “resisting a return to classroom teaching long after it became clear that classrooms were safe.”


Bloomberg warns US public school system is failing, blames teachers’ unions in part

A sign taped to the front door of the Pulaski International School of Chicago reads: School closed after Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the nation, said they would cancel classes as the union of teachers voted to return to remote learning, in Chicago on January 5, 2022.
(REUTERS/Jim Vondruska)

Bloomberg also slammed distance learning as “an overall disaster”, noting that “the first year of the pandemic left students on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, with much larger gaps for low-income schools”.

“Now, after students flee public schools in record numbers, states are paying more to educate fewer children,” Bloomberg wrote. “It could have been acceptable if the students showed great improvement. Instead, we pay more for failure.”

Bloomberg singled out public charter schools as a more effective mechanism for educating American students and criticized politicians for backing legislation that made it harder for charter schools to operate and easier for regular public schools to escape. responsibility.

“Many charter schools across the country have long waiting lists, and it’s no wonder. In states and cities with strict accountability laws, charters have a proven track record of delivering superior performance. district schools,” Bloomberg wrote. “A recent national analysis found that districts with a higher share of charters had higher scores in reading and math as well as higher graduation rates on average. Other research found that the benefits are particularly pronounced for black, Latino, and low-income students.”

Bloomberg argued that charter schools are underfunded in proportion to the number of students they teach, as parents continue to pull their children out of traditional public schools and place them in charter schools.


“The idea that we would allow public charter school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to be deprived of great teachers so that we can staff shrinking schools as if they were full makes no sense – until let politics be considered,” Bloomberg wrote. “And then it makes perfect sense, because so many elected officials are beholden to union leaders who oppose charters.”

Bloomberg argued that without reform, public schools will continue to fail students and harm future generations.


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