kenneth baum

First Person

New York

City officials tout newest education initiatives at a Bronx school

Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott speak with students at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science today. Mayor Bloomberg took his updated education reform agenda on a promotional tour this morning, stopping by a high-performing Bronx school with a principal who has gone to bat for him in the past. Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott traveled to the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science  to tout the education initiatives that the mayor proposed during his State of the City address last week. Those plans include closing and reopening 33 struggling schools to clear the way for $60 million in federal funding, offering pay raises for teachers who receive high ratings, and repaying student loans for new teachers who excelled in college. The eight-year-old school opened as part of Bloomberg's small schools initiative, and the mayor cited it today as a resounding success. “The students and teachers we had the opportunity to meet with today are part of a broader story of achievement in our city, but there is so much more to do," Bloomberg said in City Hall's press release about the visit. (Geoff joined the caravan of reporters who tagged along and will report more from the visit later today.) Principal Kenneth Baum is also a longstanding supporter of the mayor's policy initiatives. Last year, he advocated for Bloomberg's (ultimately unsuccessful) push to do away with "last in, first out" seniority layoff rules. Walcott also name-checked Baum in his speech about reforming middle schools, saying that the principal's practice of sending teachers to students' homes before the school year starts exemplifies the community bonds that successful schools develop.