Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wolfson's Miraculous Feat

It's kind of hard to believe the level of nonsense that passes as information these days. Despite Mike Bloomberg's education programs having improved, conservatively, nothing, his paid propagandist Howard Wolfson has a piece in the Daily News insisting that Thompson can't be mayor, as he'd be a tool of the union. That's even more absurd than the union endorsement of Thompson.

For one thing, Thompson supports Mayor Bloomberg's unilateral decision to give virtually all city employees but teachers a raise. That alone gives me pause. You'd think that a Bloomberg employee would give the guy a little credit for trying to screw teachers, one of Mayor Mike's key priorities this endless decade. But no.

Now it's certainly noteworthy, as Wolfson points out, that more kids graduate nowadays. After all, when you close schools that don't post high graduation rates, you tend to motivate principals to post them by any means necessary. You can pressure teachers to pass kids who don't merit it, or even promote ridiculous credit recovery schemes. Of course, when college readiness rates linger around 25%, you have to wonder precisely how effective Mayor Bloomberg's magic has been. He did, of course, amazingly raise the city test scores, before we found out that the tests had actually been dumbed-down. Wolfson surely must have forgotten how much loyalty Bloomberg money had mustered, or how New Yorkers felt about that third term he bought.

I love that Wolfson brings up his mom, working somewhere in the South Bronx, then pushes charters. One wonders whether his mom would've managed a career in a charter. Teacher turnover tends to be pretty high, even higher than that of public schools. I suppose it's fine to subject kids to underqualified teachers who are just passing through. But that kind of negates the story about his hard-working mom. Would Wolfson want his mom to work with no job protection, to be subject to arbitrary and capricious dismissal, and to go five years without a raise? It would seem so.

Of course Wolfson mentions the raise in salaries, conveniently omitting the compromises and givebacks that entailed, and the fact that virtually all other city employees got an 8% bump between 2008-2010. He probably also forgot that no city employee is working under a current contract. I guess the notion of leaving things better for those who follow you is not important enough for Mayor Mike to worry about. 

Another great point he brings up is that of mayoral control. Wolfson loves the fact that the mayor has 8 of 13 votes in our fake school board, the PEP, and can fire whomever he wishes, whenever he likes, for any or no reason. After all, democracy is a messy thing, and giving a billionaire unlimited power to do whatever the hell he feels like to public schoolchildren certainly simplifies things.  And it's certainly indisputable that no one ever ran the Regents exams quite like Mike Bloomberg.

I suppose if you get paid to write propaganda, you can really only give one side, no matter how far you must stretch to do it. But why is Wolfson trashing Thompson, Meryl Tisch's BFF, simply because the UFT endorses him? After all, the UFT also endorsed mayoral control, twice, and the King Reformy John's junk science evaluation system, the Emperor's pride and joy?

Reality-based educator has an interesting theory, right here. Could he be tearing down Thompson so as to make it appear he isn't just another Bloomberg-endorsed hack? It makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.
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