NYC Union Files Lawsuit Against Bloomberg Over Charter Plans

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has announced a lawsuit against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that seeks to prevent him from approving charter schools that are set to open in 2014-15 academic year – after Bloomberg leaves his post. Specifically, the lawsuit is seeking to prevent Bloomberg from finalizing the plans to open about a dozen new charters before the state has even had a chance to issue their ruling on the applications.

According to Corinne Lestch of the New York Daily News, Bloomberg has welcomed charter schools to the city as part of his wide-ranging educational reform plans. More than 150 such schools are currently operating in the district with more than 20 set to open their doors this fall.

During a press conference about the suit, Mulgrew accused Bloomberg of attempting to get around his decision to leave office and "wanting a fourth term." At issue appears to be the arrangements Bloomberg tried to make for the proposed charters to receive rent-free accommodations in district-owned school buildings.

Administration officials blasted the lawsuit, calling it "a tired gimmick." They noted that making arrangements for accommodating new charters in advance is standard operating procedure for the city.

The conflict between the union and Bloomberg is unlikely to abate as the Mayor is getting ready to leave office in 2014. Just this month, the administration and Mulgrew locked horns over the UFT report that a mere 10% of city's high school graduates leave school college-ready.

New York City schools continue to struggle with producing graduates who are ready for college, Corinne Lestch of the New York Daily News reports. A study by the United Federation of Teachers finds that out of all city high schools, only one in ten adequately prepare the majority of their graduates for college-level academic work.

According to the data collected by UFT, about 35 city schools account for an overwhelming majority of all of the city's college-ready graduates. Last year 16,000 city student graduated from high school in NYC, and about half will not require remediation if they choose to enroll in college or university.

Mulgrew blamed "failed" policies adopted by Bloomberg and the current Chancellor of NYC Department of Education Dennis Walcott for the appalling numbers.

The results – which UFT president Michael Mulgrew characterized as "the tale of two systems" – shows that efforts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor of NYC Department of Education Dennis Walcott to improve college readiness of the city's students have so far having a limited impact. The situation appears similar to what prevailed before Bloomberg was finally able to wrest direct control over the city's schools from DOE bureaucrats: a small number of schools are graduating a large number of well-prepared students with the rest of the city lagging far behind.

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