Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is squarely blaming teachers’ unions following the revelation that a reported 1.3 million students have left public schools since the beginning of the pandemic.
Bloomberg believes the implosion of the public school system in America is due to union leaders standing against a return to in-classroom teaching “long after it was clear that classrooms were safe.”
He claims the system is “failing” in his latest op-ed piece titled, “A Wake-Up Call for Public Education,” which came out last week.
The former 2020 presidential candidate contends that the message to educators and elected officials is crystal clear, “Too many public schools are failing, parents are voting with their feet, and urgent and bold action is needed.”
Nearly 1.3 million students have left public schools since the pandemic began. Most states have seen enrollment declines for two straight years. In New York City, K-12 enrollment has dropped by an astounding 9%.
– Michael Bloomberghttps://t.co/C8g6NxXl9s
— Freedom Foundation (GETTR: @freedomfdtn) (@FreedomFdtn) June 3, 2022
“Until now, however, the only government response has been to spend more money — too much of which has gone to everyone but our children,” Bloomberg asserts.
“A recent national analysis contained a deeply disturbing finding that has generated little public discussion when it should be causing an outcry: Nearly 1.3 million students have left public schools since the pandemic began,” he reported.
“Most states have seen enrollment declines for two straight years. In New York City, K-12 enrollment has dropped by an astounding 9%,” Bloomberg commented.
He also alluded to “the law of supply and demand” which mandates that “a large reduction in students will lead to a corresponding reduction in school budgets.”
“Otherwise, at this rate, the public will soon be paying teachers to lead half-empty classrooms,” Bloomberg said.
He went on to call remote instruction a “disaster.” Bloomberg also contended that according to one analysis, the “first year of the pandemic left students an average of five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, with much larger gaps for low-income schools.”
The philanthropist pointed out that students have “fled public schools in record numbers, states are paying more to educate fewer children.”
(Video Credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies)
“That might have been acceptable if students were showing great improvement. Instead, we are paying more for failure,” he intoned.
Bloomberg has long advocated for a public charter school system, which he insists is flourishing “thanks to their success, even as their federal funding has not risen in the last four years.”
He noted that between 2020 and 2021, almost 240,000 new students enrolled in charter schools. That’s a 7 percent increase year to year.
“Many charter schools around the country have long waitlists, and no wonder,” he remarked. “In states and cities with strong accountability laws, charters have a proven academic track record of outperforming district schools.”
“One recent nationwide analysis found that districts with a higher share of charters yield higher reading and math scores as well as higher graduation rates on average,” Bloomberg added. “Other research has found that the benefits are especially pronounced for black, Latino, and low-income students.”
(Video Credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies)
He wrote that charter schools are underfunded which forces students to attend public schools. Those same public schools are reportedly failing students and will continue to do so if they are not reformed and revamped.
“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 declining enrollments as though they were full makes no sense whatsoever — until factoring in politics,” Bloomberg charged. “And then it makes perfect sense because so many elected officials are beholden to union leaders who oppose charters.”
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