But Tuesday, in his last month as mayor, Michael Bloomberg boasted that New York City school kids have improved in a crucial category; college entrance exams.
New York City students are performing far better than kids nationally.
Students at Brooklyn's Bedford Academy got a well-deserved pat on the back Tuesday.
"Education is truly a passport to the future, and it sounds like a catch phrase, but our students demonstrate it on a daily basis," said Adofo Muhammad, Bedford Academy Principal.
The mayor and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott singled out Bedford as one of the schools where enrollment in advanced placement classes, and scores on AP exams, has increased significantly.
"Since 2002, the number of students taking and passing AP exams has more than doubled; gains we're set to build on in the future," Mayor Bloomberg said.
More increases are cited for the number of city students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Tests.
"I just studied hard and made sure I had the proper knowledge for the test and I just took it," said Tristan Haughton-Derima, a student.
At Bedford Academy, students say the formula for success is simple.
"The teachers at Bedford Academy, they're like different from everywhere else, because they take individual time with each student to help you, any time, available any time," said Zuhura Dabreo, a student.
"Kids prepare from freshman year, ready for everything," said Julius Blake, a student.
The next SAT testing season begins this weekend.