Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bloomberg Is as Bloomberg Does

In America, we can't afford to make sure everyone gets health care. We can't have the government cover everyone, like they do in every other industrialized nation. That's why the no. 1 cause of bankruptcy is catastrophic medical emergency. We're all cowboys and we gotta do what we gotta do. Except for big corporations that we can't afford to lose. You can die for lack of help, but they can't.

As for public schools, those atrocious drags on Steve Forbes' tax bill, Mayor Bloomberg is standing up and doing something about them. He's taking a look at them, and if they don't meet his standards, he's closing them. That's what happens in private industry. You fail, you die.

OK, well, he's not exactly closing them. He's renaming them, adding five layers of administration to replace one, selecting all new kids, and patting himself on the back for doing a great job. Never mind that he compares one-fifth of a school to the old school, or that the kids in the new school speak English and don't have special ed. The important thing is we made progress, and we have to keep it going.

In Mayor Bloomberg's New York, though, this doesn't apply to private schools. When they fail, we save them, like the banks. Just because they can't sustain themselves is no reason for them to close. We'll just make them charter schools. The beautiful thing about charter schools is that they are absolutely fair. They only take students from an incredibly accurate lottery system, and they never discourage anyone from entering during interviews, and the tests they give before entry are utterly meaningless. Did I mention they have a lottery and are absolutely fair?

Except, of course, when they aren't:

Mr. Bloomberg has pledged that students currently enrolled at the Catholic schools would be guaranteed places in the new charters...

So we won't bother with a lottery, and the kids will keep going to their private school, and it will be exactly like a public school. Everyone wins. The kids keep their private school, and there's no more tuition, because taxpayers now pick up the tab. And, of course, the school will contain kids whose parents are so proactive about their education that they were willing to pay to send them to private schools. And this is completely fair, because in Mr. Bloomberg's New York, the only variable is the teacher.

It's well-known that private school teachers are more highly skilled than public school teachers, and were they to be taken out of their quiet private schools and sent to the worst schools in the city, all discipline problems would cease instantly and passing rates would triple. And don't worry about those nasty state laws prohibiting the conversion.

As Mayor Bloomberg demonstrated when he overturned the term limits bill voters had twice affirmed, laws are for the little people.
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