MANHATTAN — Now he can add another title to his name...general.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took aim at Washington during a blistering speech at MIT Tuesday, basking in the unrivaled power that comes with running the biggest city in the country — including have an army of cops at his disposal.
The mayor also aimed his barbs at American teachers, saying that they're culled from "from the bottom 20 percent and not of the best schools."
“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world,” the mayor said. “I have my own state department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entrée into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have."
Amid renewed rumors that the three-term mayor may be eyeing a run for the White House, Bloomberg cast himself as an outsider, saying: “I don’t listen to Washington very much, which is something they’re not thrilled about.”
And while electeds in higher offices may hold more prestige, he insisted that mayors actually get things done.
“The cities and mayors are where you deal with crime, you deal with real immigration problems, you deal with health problems, you deal with picking up the garbage and educating," he said, slamming the partisan gridlock of D.C.
“People at the federal level or the state level typically have spent their whole life in politics and they’ve never been an executive, and it shows."
But the mayor's below the Beltway shots weren't reserved for just Washington — he also slapped the dunce cap on the country's teachers.
“We don’t hire the people who are at the top of their class anymore," he told the audience at the elite Massachusetts school.
“In America, they come from the bottom 20 percent and not of the best schools."
In a perfect world, he said he would cut the number of teachers in half and double their compensation, in an effort to improve the quality of instruction.
“Double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students,” he said, adding that teachers unions' pushes for smaller classes around the country have driven down salaries.
Bloomberg also questioned the impact of technology in the classroom, despite rising spending by the Department of Education on technology and e-learning.
“It may be heresy in this day and age to say so, but there’s not a lot of evidence that when you introduce a lot more technology in the classroom the results are better,” he said, arguing that what really mattered was the quality of teachers.