Thursday, February 15, 2007

Moving Ahead

Mayor Bloomberg has succeeded in his plan to give away 66% of the public ballfields on Randall's Island to wealthy private schools, via a no-interest 20-year loan (a fact that seemed to escape the NY papers). He's done so with the full blessing of city Controller Bill Thompson, who had previously objected.

A lot of teachers, myself included, had thought that placing Democrats in key positions might be helpful to city schoolchildren, teachers, and working people in general. Given Mr. Thompson's support for this plan, I no longer think it's that simple. Take a look at Governor Spitzer, who'd promised to lower class sizes, but now makes it a menu choice, along with longer school days and years, both of which we already have in NYC, and neither of which has much helped anyone.

Perhaps Governor Spitzer can credit Bloomberg and UFT President Randi Weingarten for already having instituted this plan, what with their having negotiated the longest school year in the area already. Then, Mayor Bloomberg can get the extra cash without frittering it away on those troublesome CFE demands (good teachers, small classes, and decent facilities).

Also, take a look at how Whitney Tilson on the pro-voucher blog Edspresso loves Governor Spitzer's approach. Why on earth do you suppose Randi Weingarten loves it too? Spitzer's running for president, and so is Ms. Weingarten. We'd better line up some real allies, or New York City's kids may soon need to run as well. Where?

Nassau, where I live (because I couldn't afford the area in which I work), looks better every day, and while I'm beginning to wish Suozzi had beaten Spitzer (I voted for Spitzer in the primary and the election, hoping he'd follow CFE's recommendations, rather than "reform"), I'm glad we still have Suozzi here.

My kid's school is excellent. Why? It has good teachers, small classes, and decent facilities. That seems to work, but it's not what I'd call a "reform."

Politicians like "reforms." I don't much like politicians today, though.
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