Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretend They're Charter Schools

That's what Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, told the crowd assembled in front of Brooklyn Tech last night. If only the Chancellor would pretend they were charters, we wouldn't be looking at closure. They'd have new facilities, Smartboards, small class sizes, and waitresses on roller skates to bring kids their lunch each day.

And charters are really riding the gravy train nowadays. They've bought off Governor Paterson for 55 grand here, and 35 grand there, and they're spreading it far and wide. One of charter schools' biggest benefactors is that lovable Walmart family, who can't wait to bust those nasty teacher unions. They've given 15 million for charters in Albany alone.

Mayor Bloomberg wasn't taking that advice last night.

After months of talk, hearings that brought out thousands of New Yorkers to defend schools, and an all-night session in which politicians, teachers, parents, students, principals, and who-knows who else came out to protest, Bloomberg and Klein closed all the schools.

“Listening means to hear but also to digest and allow the information to have an effect on our opinion,” said Dymtro Fedkowskyi, the representative from Queens.

Patrick Sullivan, who represents Manhattan on the board and has long been one of the few dissenting voices, pressed the mayor’s appointees to explain why they approved of the policy. “Is there anyone who will defend this?” he asked. All but one of the mayor’s appointees remained silent. “I can’t see how anyone can vote in good conscious,” Mr. Sullivan said.

No reflection. No justification. No consideration. That's what passes for democracy these days. A bunch of kangaroo hearings and a panel that comes right out of the mayor's pocket. Representatives of Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn said no.

Mayor Bloomberg's rubber stamps, who barely speak, unable to formulate arguments to defend their actions, carried the day.

Screw you, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. I'm the mayor and I can do what I want.
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