Friday, February 27, 2015
Anyway, I know some of you may be eating, so I'll change the subject. Mayor de Blasio is much more of a mystery, because despite his being, admittedly, a politician, I've seen no signs he's insane. Mayoral control was a disaster under he whose name should not be spoken (Bloomberg, for those of you who are new here). He closed schools, created charters, placed lifetime teachers into the Absent Teacher Reserve, allowed them to be relentlessly stereotyped, and when it came up again, UFT leadership asked for some modifications, failed to get them, and supported it to again. That's what they call "solutions-driven unionism." No doubt you have some other term for it.
I guess everyone likes power, Bill de B. included. But here's the thing--the man ran on a platform that suggested he wished to stop, or at least slow down, the rampant reforminess that had been stinking up the place for the past decades. That was one of the reasons I worked for him, contributed to his campaign, and went to the inauguration. Sure, I froze to death, but it was worth it to see the sour pusses on Bloomberg and Cuomo, neither of whom the tasteful Mr. de Blasio invited to say word one.
But last year Emperor Andy decided that it was too much to allow de B. mayoral control. When de Blasio tried to stop Eva Moskowitz from spreading her corporate-backed charters, Andy went and passed some law saying if he wouldn't colocate them he had to pay for them anyway. Cuomo then became a big hero, appearing at the atrocious Albany rally to which Eva dragged all her little pawn/ students. I can't help but recall what UFT leadership did to block this, which was absolutely nothing. I also can't help but recall a very highly-placed source in NYSUT who assured me my union president approved of this.
So here's my real question--aside from the power over charter schools, which de Blasio doesn't have anymore, and the power to close schools and shuffle kids, making it appear something is happening when that is not the case, there are certain perks the mayor gets under mayoral control. One is the abomination called the PEP, the fake Board of Education that allows communities to get up and comment and then does whatever the hell the mayor wants. I'm not precisely sure why anyone who believed in democracy rather than dictatorship would want such a thing, but there you have it.
Cuomo appears to be doing the right thing here, but that's surely only because he has no understanding of the implications. If his reformy BFFs take Gracie Mansion again, they'll have to renew it just like he whose name should not be spoken. Of course, if even UFT will not oppose this awful idea, it won't much matter anyway.
With Cuomo in place, mayoral control is only effective with a mayor like Bloomberg, who believes in Eva Moskowitz more than life itself. Cuomo has shown himself perfectly willing to block anything resembling sanity in mayoral control. So while there may be some marginal temporary benefit, somewhere, for Bill de Blasio in not having to renew mayoral control, in the long-run, it's a disaster for democracy, for New York City, and for 1.1 million schoolchildren.
And in the end, for this mayor, it's only as much control as Emperor Andy wishes to relinquish, with deep pocketed Moskowitz BFFs having a veto over absolutely everything. Say it ain't so, Bill. Give power back to the communities that make up our public schools.