It’s official: Senator Provolone is running for mayor.
Today, The Boston Globe introduced the world to the high-school version of Bill de Blasio, a gangly young activist with a passion for student government and a rather creative nickname: “Senator Provolone.”
“That is a true statement. I cannot deny that,” the front-running mayoral candidate said today after Politicker asked about the nickname.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner accused Mayor Michael Bloomberg of using school closures to skirt union rules and fudging test scores ahead of his 2005 re-election bid during a conversation on education policy this morning that represented a rare reprieve from relentless questions about his latest sexing scandal.
Still trying to shift the conversation away from revelations that have engulfed his fledgling mayoral campaign in recent weeks, Mr. Weiner spent nearly an hour discussing everything from test scores to classroom diversity during a CUNY Institute of Education Policy Breakfast at Hunter College.
Education activists and union members furious about Anthony Weiner’s plans to scrap paid parent coordinators if he’s elected mayor erected a giant, inflatable rat outside of his building this morning during a protest urging voters to keep him off the general election ballot.
“I think he’s doing a lousy-ass job,” said Yvette McClamb, vice president of the PTA at Jackie Robinson Junior High School 13 in East Harlem, who was one of about a dozen women who gathered outside of Mr. Weiner’s ritzy Park Avenue South apartment building, next to the rat.
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota heaped praise on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education legacy in a speech this morning, commending the current mayor for achieving “incredible” results, and admonishing his Democratic rivals for failing to give him equal praise.
Mr. Lhota pointed to a smattering of improvements on state tests, as well as the city’s jump in graduation rates–which actually dipped slightly this year.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg–who previously suggested so-so students skip college to become plumbers–dished out some more advice to young people Friday morning during his weekly radio show.
Mr. Bloomberg, whose own syntax has sometimes been the butt of jokes, warned kids to pay attention to their grammar lessons or risk losing opportunities later in life.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration suffered a blow today with the release of emails surrounding the selection process of Cathie Black, the one-time schools chancellor who was forced to resign in 2011, after just 95 days in office. Ms. Black, who had no prior educational experience, drew widespread controversy amid a number of missteps. The city fought an extended, unsuccessful legal battle to keep the emails from being subject to a Freedom of Information Law request.
Overall, they detail the city’s public relations efforts to improve Ms. Black’s brand, including outreach to leading female figures like Caroline Kennedy for support. Additionally, the emails reveal debates over how much information about Ms. Black should be provided to reporters.
At a morning press conference announcing new Hurricane Sandy initiatives, Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t just wade into the Israel-Palestine dispute, he also defended New York City’s cell phone ban in public schools.
“Kids should be in the classroom listening to the teacher,” he declared after a reporter asked him if Murry Bergtraum High School’s lack of regular phone service might prompt him to rethink the policy. “Not playing games, not Facebooking, Twittering, emailing, texting, or anything else. We’ve made that decision a long time ago. Cell phones are very destructive to the education process.”
Mr. Bloomberg then jokingly chastised a journalist in front of him to embellish his point.
Earlier today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre and other leaders from the gun group held a much-anticipated press conference to react to the ongoing controversy surrounding the shootings at a Sandy Hook elementary school one week ago. For those hoping for a grand speech, Mr. LaPierre certainly didn’t disappoint. In the address, Mr. LaPierre pushed back hard against those calling for additional gun control measures while accusing the media of being “silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators” in the violence. He also seemed to hold a host of other entities and events responsible, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years,” Mr. LaPierre said. “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’…A thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder, portray murder, as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
Though the bluster of the Chicago teacher strike calmed down last week, the tensions between teacher’s unions and prominent mayors have not ceased. For his part, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is siding with his Second City counterpart, Rahm Emanuel, who pushed for changes to Chicago’s public school system despite opposition from the local teacher’s unions. Mr. Bloomberg discussed the situation this morning at NBC’s third annual Education Nation Summit at the Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library.
“I think Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, was quite right to move towards a longer school day,” he said. “I also think Rahm was right in pushing towards evaluations as a reform that the Obama administration made as part of Race to the Top.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave a $100 million grant to the public school system in 2010. Now, according to CBS News, officials are considering using some of that cash on buyouts to get rid of poorly performing teachers.