Monday, April 18, 2011

Off the Meter

Welcome to the tenure of Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who bemoans the "poisonous debate" in NYC, claiming it's hurting kids. Doubtless the new chancellor would much prefer that city parents and teachers sit down and shut up, Mayor Bloomberg's preferred mode of debate. After all, Walcott has been an integral part of Board of Education "reform," resulting in a Panel for Educational Policy on which 8 of 13 members either vote with the mayor or get fired before getting a chance to vote against him.

Walcott bemoans the toxic atmosphere that's pervaded city-community relations, failing to note that he's fostered it every step of the way. He fails to see any problem with charters invading public schools, usurping libraries and getting better facilities and favored treatment. He fails to see the animosities his administration has caused by depriving neighborhoods of schools, or by placing five layers of administration in buildings that got by just as well with one.

Outrageously, Walcott has the audacity to push the highly polarizing plan to eliminate seniority rights for teachers while ostensibly calling for civility. In a display of what can only be called chuzpah, he contends that seniority would not factor in layoff decisions under that scenario, ignoring the fact that one of his "reforms" was making salary school based. Somehow, this is labeled "fair funding," and somehow, this boneheaded move was approved by Randi Weingarten's UFT.

If Walcott wants a dialogue, public school parents and teachers would welcome it. If he wants to stand there peddling the same tired old nonsense, insisting on "accountability" for unionized teachers while accepting none whatsoever for the outrageous failures of the last decade, no informed person, no active parent or teacher, and knowledgeable community member not on Bloomberg's payroll will take him seriously.

If you want to do better, Mr. Walcott, we're all ears. Please don't insult our intelligence by placing a ribbon on the same old garbage we've been hearing for the last long, long decade.
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