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Rudy Giuliani on Education

Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)


Favored privatization of failing public schools

Favored privatization of failing public schools As mayor, Giuliani grappled with a budget deficit but lowered taxes.
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p.237 , Jun 5, 2012

FactCheck: No, Hispanic K-12 test scores are rising

Giuliani was wrong when he said that “we have a weakening K-12, including for Hispanic students.” Just the opposite is true. Nationally, all four 2007 scores for the National Assessment of Education Progress tests for Hispanics were higher than the 2005 scores, and all but one were higher than at any time since 1992. (The only score that wasn’t at its highest level was for 8th grade reading, which was tied with the record score in 2002.) Tests for all US students in 2007 were higher than in 2005.
Source: FactCheck on 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

NYC public school system dysfunctional & should be blown up

Q: You said that the NYC school system was “no good and beyond redemption”; that it was “dysfunctional and should be blown up.” A lot of teachers, frankly, hated you, sir. The No Child Bill has already alienated a lot of the nation’s teachers. Why are you the person to bring them back in the fold and how would you do it?

A: What we need is choice.

Q: That’s going to bring back public school teachers?

Q: Well, I love teachers. But I really care about the kids more.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Lobbied to cut state aid to NYC schools

As soon as he took office n 1994, Giuliani suited up for full-scale rhetorical combat against the nation’s largest public school system. Early on, he traveled to Albany to lobby for less school aid than the notoriously stingy State Legislature typically allocated.

The mayor reasoned that he could not legitimately ask for billions of dollars during a fiscal crisis for a system he was accusing of chronic mismanagement. His unprecedented request would have effectively starved an already malnourished school system. More than 5 years later, Giuliani declared the schools to be so hopeless that “the whole system should be blown up.”

Elementary school principals reported eliminating arts, music, and afterschool activities such as foreign language clubs & debate teams. Kindergarten class sizes soared to 25 children with only one teacher. Some high school principals resorted to shortening more & more students’ instructional days to absorb Giuliani’s first-term 20% budget cuts.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p.110-3 , May 2, 2007

Supports Ten commandments & prayer in schools

Giuliani made an issue of “The Holy Virgin Mary,” a Sensation painting [exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum] that used, among other materials, elephant dung to depict the mother of Christ. The mayor promptly denounced the exhibit as hate speech against Catholics and vowed to defund and close down the museum. The museum immediately sued on First Amendment grounds.

Giuliani’s jihad made political hay, attacking Hillary’s support of what he termed obscene and blasphemous museumology: “She agrees with using public funds to bash the Catholic religion,” the mayor said.

Giuliani had employed a direct-mail guru who specialized in creating appeals tailored to religious zealots. He also came out for prayer and the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. Yet Giuliani’s crusade got weak support locally. Even Catholics in the city gave the mayor short shrift, by 48% to 42%.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p.127 , May 2, 2007

Attended Catholic high school in Brooklyn

John O’Leary, formerly Brother Aloysius Kevin, [said about Giuliani’s high school]
: Established as an all-male, diocesan institution--it would become co-educational in 1974, incorporating girls from Bishop McDonald Memorial High School in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn--Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School had originally occupied a gracious Victorian mansion built circa 1878 for, but only occupied for a short time by, the first bishop of Brooklyn, John Loughlin. The house is now used as a residence for its faculty members. In 1933, a more utilitarian building was constructed next door--one whose architecture is typical of high schools all over the United States--and that is where, from 1957 until his graduation in 1961, Rudy Giuliani spent an intellectually and vocationally stimulating four years.
Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p. 23 , Jan 16, 2007

Cut city funding for offensive art at Brooklyn Museum

My decision to reduce funding for the Brooklyn Museum of Art after it displayed sexually explicit cutouts and a portrait of the Madonna defiled with elephant dung was hysterically opposed by the New York elite. The politically correct never envisioned that people could in good faith have a difference of opinion about whether public money ought to be used to desecrate a religious image.

There was an important First Amendment issue at stake. I believed that the mayor should never have the right to stop anyone from making a statement of any kind. People have a right to free expression. If they were to create offensive art on their own property, using their own funds, and someone were to attack them for doing it, the mayor would be obliged to protect them, and so would the police. But I believe there is a difference between protecting someone’s right to desecrate a religious image and being required to fund that desecration using tax dollars from the very people it offends.

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p.225-226 , Oct 1, 2002

Schools should focus on educating kids, not protecting jobs

The school system was never going to improve until core mission was made clear. What the system should have been about was educating its million children as well as possible. Instead, it existed to provide jobs for the people who worked in it, and to preserve those jobs regardless of performance. That is not to say that there weren’t committed professionals at every level in the system.

Until I could get everyone to agree that the system existed to educate children, fixing little bits of it was symbolic at best. The system needed to say we are not a job protection system but a system at its core about children’s enrichment. All rewards & risks must flow from the performance of the children. If you took a broken system & repaired just enough so that it could limp along, you lessened the chance that a real solution could be reached. That is why I resist partial control over a project. The schools should be made into a mayoral agency--like the Fire Department--so the city can enact real solutions

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p.175 , Oct 1, 2002

Open schools on weekends for remedial catch-up

Board of Education officials said yesterday that they were scrambling to meet the February deadline set by Giuliani to add a sixth day of school for nearly 84,000 struggling NYC schoolchildren. Even so, the officials said, the board will probably be able to get the program only partly under way.

The mayor’s proposal, unveiled in his address Monday on the state of the city, would bring about the biggest mobilization of teachers, students and resources since the board instituted mandatory summer school in 1999. Several officials said that although the plans for a sixth day of extra English, science and mathematics classes had been discussed with Giuliani over the last few weeks, they were stunned to hear that the mayor wanted to carry them out by sometime next month.

The weekend program would provide remedial instruction on either Saturday or Sunday to 45,300 8th through 12th graders who are lagging in science and math and to 38,600 immigrant students who are failing to learn English.

Source: Anemona Hartocollis, NY Times , Jan 10, 2001

Sell Board of Ed HQ to shrink it

Giuliani has been highly critical of the New York City school system and has vowed to sell the Board of Education headquarters, reduce its staff and move its offices into a smaller, modern building.
Source: CNN.com , Mar 11, 2000

Improve schools by taking on the unions & special interests

You only get one chance to educate a child, and it you screw it up, then it’s very hard to correct it later. [We] should be ashamed of ourselves, that we do not have the political courage to take on the unions, the special interests, and everything else that are holding our children back! The people of this City are saying something to the leadership of this City. But the city is not listening to them. It’s too busy listening to the unions. It should be listening to the people of the City.
Source: State of the City Address, New York City , Jan 13, 2000

Reading projects offer tutoring & improve test score

Project Read has increased student’s scores on the citywide reading test by 3.9 percentage points in 1998. This highly intensive school day and after-school program now reaches more than 130,000 students.

Partners in Reading operates at more than 100 New York City Housing Authority community centers, reaching out to more than 5,300 children. Teachers, parents and community residents offer their free time to strengthen the reading, writing and communication skills of our city’s youths.

Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

$50M for more art teachers & art programs

Project Arts has permanently restored arts programming to 830 city schools. By the end of the year, the program will be in place throughout our school system. Since its inception in 1997, 750 arts teachers have been hired - 285 in 1998 alone. The City has dedicated $50 million to ensure that our children receive the tools they need to enrich their lives and succeed as well-rounded individuals.
Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

Replace Board of Ed with appointed commissioner

Giuliani wants to replace the Board of Education with a commissioner of education appointed by the mayor, subject to confirmation by the City Council. Giuliani’s proposal would give the mayor - who is directly accountable to the voters - the opportunity to appoint experts who share his educational philosophy. That would provide the accountability that is so essential but is lacking now - not only at the top, but throughout the entire bureaucracy.
Source: Daily News, Opinion by Ed Koch , Apr 30, 1999

Opposes prayer in school

When the Liberal Party reviewed a list of key social issues of deep concern to progressive New Yorkers, we found that Giuliani agreed with the Liberal Party’s stance on a majority of such issues. He agreed with the Liberal Party’s views on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer & tuition tax credits.
Those who are trying to destroy our liberal principles insist that an America without prayer in school is a “Godless nation”.
-- Liberal Party Platform (2006)
Source: NY Liberal Party Endorsement, in 3/25/05 NY Observer , Apr 8, 1989


Rudy Giuliani on School Choice

Let parents be the deciders on their children’s education

I’m here because of the educational choices my parents made or I wouldn’t be here or have achieved anything that I’ve achieved, and that’s the place where the decision should be made. Instead of having these education standards done in Washington by the Education Department or some bureaucrats in a state capital or in a board, the choice should be made by parents. Parents should choose the school that their child goes to, the same way people choose higher education. Has it ever occurred to us that highe education is still the very, very best in the world? You’re asking me about K through 12. Well, higher education is based on choice. It’s based on a large consumer market. It’s based on competition. It’s the area of K through 12 where we have this government command sort of approach. If we give the choice to parents, where they can choose a private school, a parochial school, a public school, a charter school, home schooling, let them be the decider. We’ll see a big revolution in education.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

All parents want more control & choice over kids’ schooling

Q: Do you think that you’re taking a risk to come here [to an Hispanic forum]?

A: I don’t see any risk at all. Hispanic Americans are Americans, just as much as all other Americans. They have the same values, the same interests. I learned that being mayor of the largest Hispanic city in the US. I learned we have very common values. Hispanics have a tremendous interest in giving more freedom back to people, giving people more of a chance to decide on the education of their child. That’s why I think school choice would be a very good thing to do for Hispanics, for Hispanic parents, for all parents. The decision on where the child goes to school should primarily be made by the parent, and the parent should decide what school the child goes to, not the government bureaucrat. That’s one of many things that really unites what Hispanics want and need and what all parents want and need, which is more control over their child’s education. And that’s something that I would fight very hard to bring about.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Revolutionize public education by allowing for choice

Q: 1 out of 3 Hispanic students don’t finish high school. What would you do to stop dropouts?

A: I’m the product of a Catholic education from the day I started in kindergarten until the day I got out of college. And it was my parents’ choice. It was hard for them to afford it. I was fortunate enough to get scholarships along the way to help. But the reality is, that’s really the answer. We can revolutionize public education in this country by allowing for choice. Why do we have the best higher education in the world and K-12 that’s under great stress? Because higher education is based on choice. The government doesn’t force you to go there. We should empower parents by giving them the money, giving them scholarships, giving them vouchers, let them choose a public school, a private school, a parochial school, a charter school, homeschooling. Let’s give the power to the parents, rather than to the government bureaucrats. And we will turn around education within three years.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Empower parents to decide parochial, charter, or home school

I want to tell you a little story, because this is the thing that made me feel very strongly about choice. There was a school scholarship program about 1997. They offered 2,500 scholarships to parents of public school children in NYC if they wanted to send their child to a private school, a parochial school, a charter school. We had 168,000 applications by those parents. We had to turn most of them down. We had to tell them because they don’t have enough money, they couldn’t put the child in the school of their choice.

It seems to me the thing that’s wrong right at the core of No Child Left Behind is the enforcer of standards should not be the bureaucrat in Washington or on the board of education. It should be the parent. We should empower parents. They should decide--private school, parochial school, public school, charter school, home school.

Why should a government bureaucrat be sending 168,000 children to failing schools when parents think they can do better for their children?

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Supports vouchers and supports using the word vouchers

If you want to change people’s minds, you have to stop pandering to them--even if it means using words they don’t like. A good example is the word “voucher.” If I used other language to describe a voucher, people would have a more positive reaction. The reason was that the word had been demonized--the teachers’ unions characterized it as a threat to de-fund public schools. It had become a demonized word.

Nevertheless, I refused to abandon it, and still do. We’re only going to win the battle for choice for parents when the word “voucher” loses its stigma. In using all the euphemisms, voucher advocates cede the battle, because behind people’s fear of the word lies the contorted thinking that prevents voucher programs from being adopted. Those who oppose vouchers tend not to understand them. For those of us who believe in the concept, it’s our job to defang the word, to counter the irrational reaction to it. The more supporters say the word, the less opponents can milk it for propaganda reasons.

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p.195-6 , Oct 1, 2002

Privatize failing schools

New York should privatize failing schools. The Board of education has been trying to turn them around for five years, and in some cases ten years. It should admit that it’s failed, and it should bring in others to educate the children.
Source: 2000 State of the City Address , Jan 13, 2000

Charter Schools create competition

Charter schools are a great way to create competition. [New Yorkers] should want the competition for the good of our kids. Let’s push for more and more charter schools.
Source: 2000 State of the City Address , Jan 13, 2000

Voucher program for New York City

I am going to continue to fight for a voucher program in New York City. Because I believe the experiment in Milwaukee is something that should be tried in New York. Let me explain my thinking about this: I think our school system is in such bad shape that we do not have room to exclude any experiment that might help our children, and that is proven somewhere else. Our children are entitled to all the good ideas, all the innovative ideas, and every new thing that is helping education elsewhere.
Source: 2000 State of the City Address , Jan 13, 2000

Experiment in NYC with school vouchers

Giuliani’s voucher program would require $12 million in setup costs. That’s a drop in the bucket of the more than $20 billion the city will spend on public education over the 2-year life of his proposal. Giuliani believes that if the Council approves the experiment, there is no need for the Legislature to act. If he’s right, full speed ahead. Maybe competition with the new voucher venture will shake up the public school administrators. Let’s give them the opportunity to compete & do their personal best.
Source: Daily News, Opinion by Ed Koch , Apr 30, 1999

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Other big-city mayors on Education: Rudy Giuliani on other issues:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014