Volume 80, Number 11 | August 12 - 18, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Letters to the Editor

Test scores were ‘a sham’

To The Editor:
In 2009, subway riders were regaled with an ad campaign trumpeting the success of New York City schools under mayoral control. With a tagline of “Keep It Going,” the obvious message was to re-elect the mayor who made controlling the public schools his number-one mandate. Setting aside the murky ethics of an ad campaign benefiting the mayor, funded by a nonprofit allied with his administration’s Department of Education, it now turns out that the fact campaign lacked an important element — the truth.

These bright, multicolored ads trumpeted “facts” to New Yorkers. We were told more students were graduating and test scores were on the rise. These “facts” helped Mayor Bloomberg win a third term as mayor. Now that we have had it confirmed that the test scores were a sham, what does that mean for the mayor, who liked to brag, “Judge me on what I do in the schools.”

Last year, standing outside the White House, Mayor Bloomberg trumpeted, “We’ve improved the test scores for minorities, black and Latino kids compared to white and Asian kids who have always tested better. Seven years in a row of closing the outrageous ethnic gap in testing.” But as NY1 has observed, the achievement gap has “gone all the way back to where it was before 2003, when Mayor Bloomberg took control of the school system.”

As one of the few legislators who voted against mayoral control, I am not surprised by these findings. However, like all New Yorkers, I am disappointed that New York City’s schoolchildren have not benefited more from the hundreds of millions of dollars that the state has contributed to the city’s schools. The money has been spent, a new bureaucracy is in place, but where are the results? Where is the accountability?

What is surprising is that these new numbers come as a shock to anyone. Since the beginning of the Bloomberg administration, New York City has not improved its test scores when compared with its scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Many educators raised red flags, but this national test was derided at the time by Schools Chancellor Joel Klein as not being indicative because of its “small sample size.” Now, those findings turn out to reflect what the state has recently learned.

If Mayor Bloomberg wanted us to judge him on the schools, and the schools haven’t improved, what are we supposed to do? We can replace bogus tests with ones that actually reflect reality perhaps, but unfortunately we can’t do the same for the Bloomberg administration.
Deborah Glick
Glick is assemblymember for the 66th District

Lanes make cyclists ‘arrogant’

To The Editor:
Re “The spin on the new bike lanes on 1st and 2nd Aves.” (“Person on the Street” interviews, Aug. 5):

Nobody likes the new traffic lanes except the bikers who can now claim a lane of their own. This, in addition to all the other lanes and the sidewalks that they still use. This also makes them more arrogant, and they wear their feelings of entitlement like a crown. They do not obey the traffic laws, they go the wrong way, they don’t stop for red lights. You name it, they don’t obey it.

While it’s true cars are still using the bike lane, a lot of the drivers are totally confused. Instruction maps were posted all over and folks stood in front of them trying to figure things out. When was the last time you needed instructions to drive down a street?

Aside from the hardship to local small stores, the delivery guys are the hardest hit. Take a look at what some delivery folks have to carry. Now, in many cases, they are required to walk a long way to make their deliveries, and wend their way through this new dangerous traffic configuration.

The most danger, however, is faced by pedestrians. To go west across First Ave., they must cross at a bus lane, walk through traffic and past parked cars that hide the bike lane, while bikes whiz in and out of all lanes, going in all directions. There are many, many more opportunities for an accident.

Today I watched a woman who was parking almost back her car up into a bike. The cyclist almost slammed into her car alongside the bike lane. As he glanced off the side of her car, the driver continued to back up.

And let’s not forget the mosque on 11th St. and First Ave. where taxicabs are allowed to double- and triple-park so the drivers can go to prayer. This is not only for Ramadan.

If you look at Community Board 3 records, you will find in 2006 a request that the area bounded by Avenue B to Second Ave. between 14th and Sixth Sts. be established as a taxi stand for at least 50 taxis.
Susan Leelike

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. The Villager does not publish anonymous letters.

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