Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mr. Bloomberg and the Small Schools

There's nothing quite like a good school to improve a neighborhood. We value nothing more than our children, and it's great to know they've got a good place to go right near home.

Of course, if you have billions of dollars, you can charter a helicopter and send your kid virtually anywhere. That's one reason why Mayor Mike closes neighborhood schools without a thought about how it will impact the community.

Inconveniently, the city council is not yet directly chosen by Mayor Mike. Its members, who must be elected by the communities they serve, are getting a little uppity. Until Mayor Mike can remedy this with further mayoral control, they're liable to continue asking impertinent questions.

"As much as the Department of Education touts the success of new schools (which has yet to be determined)," interrogated Flushing's John Liu, "who is determining the impact on existing, neighborhood schools?"

Before Josh Thomases, the DOE's chief academic officer for new schools, could finish answering the question, Liu was interrupting him. "That's obfuscation," he accused. "That's a numbers game. You expect us to just swallow what you give us. We want real info."

In the face of this barrage, Thomases relented, conceding: "We have not fully assessed it."

Mr. Liu found this odd, as Mr. Thomases was surrounded by multicolored charts showing the alleged successes of the small school program. This goes right to the heart of the Bloomberg "reform" agenda, which is this---try any damn thing, hope for the best, and consistently claim it's a huge success. If facts don't support your claims, make up new ones.

If it doesn't work, try some other thing, hope for the best, and claim to be reforming the reform. And as long as you're in the process of "reforming" you can dump kids anywhere (regardless of their needs), let anyone teach anything to anyone under the most squalid conditions, send children all over the city, build new schools on sites unfit for human habitation, and reserve the best facilities for charters and private schools.

Few will notice, mayors all over the country will try to follow in your footsteps, writers from Newsweek will sing your praises, and not even the president of the teachers' union will oppose your bid to renew mayoral control.

Pretty sweet deal.

Unless the papers continue to report the truth (they have begun, at least) and folks like John Liu help them along. God help Mr. Bloomberg if writers from Newsweek ever bother to research what actually goes on here.

Thanks to Patrick
blog comments powered by Disqus