NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a jaw-dropping prescription for fixing city schools.
"Professor" Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he would accomplish more with less by slashing the teaching staff in half -- and that's just the beginning, reports CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.
He looked like he was from another planet when he dressed as a hippie for a political show, but the mayor's blueprint for fixing city schools have some asking "what was he smoking?"
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"Education is very much, I've always thought, just like the real estate business. Real estate business, there are three things that matter: location, location, location is the old joke," Bloomberg said. "Well in education, it is: quality of teacher, quality of teacher, quality of teacher. And I would, if I had the ability - which nobody does really - to just design a system and say, 'ex cathedra, this is what we're going to do,' you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students."
That's right. The mayor told people at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference it would be far better to run city schools with way fewer people. And, by the way, on the billionaire's perfect planet that would mean cramming more kids into each classroom.
Andrea Spencer is dean of the School of Education at Pace University.
"When I heard the statement I was really shocked," Spencer said. "There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that half of the teachers in any system are ineffective. What there is evidence to support is the fact that larger classes really place detriments in the way of learning."
But "Professor" Bloomberg is sticking to his views.
"The best thing you can do is put the best teacher you can possibly find and afford in front of the classroom and if you have to have fewer because there's only a certain number of dollars to go around, I'm in favor of that," Bloomberg said.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said he put the mayor's latest views on teaching in the same category of his decision to appoint a former magazine editor with no teaching experience to be schools chancellor.
"So the mayor thinks this is a good idea, in high schools to have class size in high schools of 70 kids. Clearly the mayor has never taught," said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
"And probably the mayor's having another Cathie Black moment."
The mayor also said he's given teachers a 105 percent raise since he took office. Mulgrew said maybe the mayor should have stopped in at a math class while he was at MIT.
In lamenting the quality of teachers, the mayor claimed they come from the bottom 20 percent of their class and not the best schools.
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