Today’s news:

Mayor, Klein ruined city’s standing in science contest for high schools

Your Jan. 20 story “Jamaica teen in Intel semis for Bx Science” celebrates the terrific work of a local student, as well it should. His achievement is all the more remarkable because of the dismal record of our high-performing schools during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The announcement of East Coast Intel Science Talent Search finalists was made recently and the results for New York City continued the precipitous downward trend that coincides exactly with the mayoral takeover of city schools and the destruction of quality public school education under Bloomberg and former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

For 2010, the city hit an all-time low of just 14 semifinalists out of the 300 to be announced, down from what were typically 40-50 semifinalists in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The five-year average from 1997-2002 was 45.8. Only three schools accounted for all 14 of the city’s public school semifinalists: Bronx Science with eight, Stuyvesant with five and Townsend Harris with one. Four city private schools accounted for five more semifinalists.

The city public high school results continue the city’s dramatic fall from its national position of superior achievement that was routine up until 2001 or 2002, at the point where Bloomberg took control of the city’s schools and brought in Klein.

The city’s schools have experienced a steady downward collapse in Intel achievement, both in number of semifinalist spots attained as well as the number of schools represented by those award-winning students. A number of large city public high schools, whose students were formerly among the winners, have long since disappeared since mayoral control, including Cardozo, Francis Lewis, Midwood, Edward R. Murrow, Susan Wagner and Tottenville. This year, not even Brooklyn Tech or Staten Island Tech were represented — another post-Bloomberg/Klein trend.

Whatever the causes or excuses, the facts are indisputable from the last seven or eight years of results: Bloomberg has managed nearly to destroy the city’s former high position of achievement in the nation’s premiere high school science competition. In this effort he was supported by members of the state Legislature from our area — some of whom, fortunately, are no longer in office.

Melvyn Meer


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