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Bloomberg’s State of the City speech short on schools

Mayor Bloomberg might have delivered his ninth “State of the City” address at a public school, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, but he made little education news.

Rather than touting his administration’s accomplishments, as he has done during past addresses, Bloomberg focused on the future — in particular, how the city can help its residents weather the economic recession. According to the prepared speech, those plans include launching low-fee bank accounts for city residents, curbing home foreclosures, and helping new businesses get up and running faster.

But Bloomberg didn’t leave schools out entirely. He announced smaller-scale initiatives to send public school parents text messages when their children are absent from school, put tracking devices on school buses, and make it easier for students to get contraceptives from their schools.

Bloomberg also announced that a former city principal would help lead efforts to boost city services for teenagers. David Banks, the founding principal of the all-male Eagle Academy in Harlem, will be one of two people coordinating a review of city services available for young people, said Bloomberg, emphasizing that he wants to give more attention to “black and Hispanic young people — especially young men,” who are more likely to drop out of school, be unemployed, and become parents as teenagers. 

And Bloomberg announced that in an effort to cut youth crime, he would merge the Department of Juvenile Justice with the Administration for Children’s Services, which investigates child abuse, supervises foster care placements, and runs about 250 Head Start preschool programs.