Mayor Bloomberg has decided to close 33 schools to teach the UFT a lesson--fight me and I'll close schools, agree with me and I'll close them anyway. To Mayor4Life, this represents school choice. Will this make Bloomberg eligible for the all-important federal funds the tabloids were crying about? Who knows? Who cares? The man is a true diplomat. And there aren't many people who can be celebrated by the press for their brilliant lose-lose deals.
Yet here's Michael Bloomberg, the education mayor, doing just that. If he has his way, the staff of every targeted school will have to re-apply for their jobs, and half of them will be re-hired, if they're lucky. In Mayor Bloomberg's New York, of course, it's Children First, and children will doubtless be the first to notice the absence of half their teachers. Why half? Why not? He said on TV he wanted to fire half of teachers, and that's just what he's doing.
The fact that a great many of them will be displaced as ATR teachers is fine with him. Sure, we'll be paying who knows how much to keep them wandering from school to school, when they could be teaching. This matters not a whit to Mike Bloomberg. He'll say it's the UFT's fault, wasting all that money when we could just be dumping these people on the street. And the New York Post will echo him, and so will the other papers.
In June, when some schools are making schedules, planning classes, assigning students, having SBO votes, these schools will be doing nothing. They really can't do anything because they won't exist anymore. Long Island City High School will become Short Island City High School. Flushing High School will be Flushed High School. Grover Cleveland will become Grover from Sesame Street. And so forth. All this for the sake of appeasing Michael Bloomberg's ego.
This is what you get when you give the richest man in the city control of a school system. And this benefits no one, not communities, not students, and certainly not the thousands of working teachers whose lives will be turned inside out for no good reason at all. These are the fruits of reform and this is our reward for cooperating with a petty little man who bought two elections, then bought Christine Quinn so he could overturn the twice-voiced will of the people to buy yet another. Now it's true he bought the first two elections fair and square.
But his time has past, everyone knows what a fraud he is, and it behooves us all to stop him and his band of Tweedies. They are out of control, out of ideas, out of their minds and a danger to the education of our children. And if anyone hasn't yet noticed, it is us, the teachers, not the billionaire opportunists, who place children first.