Giuliani "demonized" New York school system
It's his way or the highway. Rudolph Giuliani's security credentials have already been thrown into question after
New York City schools went through eight years of political chaosduring Giuliani's terms, which ended in 2002. His bare-knuckle tacticscontributed to the departure of three chancellors, according tointerviews with former school administrators, Board of Educationmembers, teachers, parents, union officials and outside experts.
He left behind an expired union contract, an army of angryteachers and a school system that by his own admission was stilldelivering inferior educations to hundreds of thousands of students.
How Giuliani handled education provides a window into his potentialpolitical skills as a U.S. president, especially in terms of the way hemanaged people and his refusal to compromise on issues big and small.
"I don't think he achieved anywhere near what he wanted toachieve," said Joseph P. Viteritti, an early Giuliani administrationadvisor and now a professor of public policy at Hunter College, part ofthe City University of New York. "There were no significant changes inthe system while he was there. He tended to make enemies. He was verytough and abrupt. I think his instincts were right, but sometimes heoverplayed it and caused a reaction against himself."
Giuliani fought with administrators, board members and statelegislators over budgets, union contracts, vouchers, gay toleranceeducation, lunchroom supervision, curriculum, testing, social promotionand summer school, among much else.
As far as funding was concerned:
"While Giuliani was the mayor, things did not improve," said CarolGresser, a former city education board president who was the swing votebetween liberals and conservatives. "The system was denied the money itneeded. I was on the board for eight years and it was constantly,'Let's cut back on the school system.' "
She added: "He demonized the school system."
Yet, this is the same former mayor that the traditional media already painted as reformist, heroic and decisive.