Saturday, October 28, 2006

Truth Encounters Mayor Mike

Diane Ravitch spoke on Staten Island a few nights ago:

Perhaps the most prevalent issue she raised was the hoarding of power and decision-making in the hands of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the expense of input from parents and educators.

"What we get are decisions presented as fait accompli, with no public discussion," said Ms. Ravitch, who added that mayoral control had eliminated checks and balances on the system and politicized education. "There should be far greater openness on the part of the Department (of Education)."

Her targets ranged from the principal-training Leadership Academy to the lack of a definitive curriculum, and from the haste to create small schools to the public relations spin on test scores, which in some cases had barely improved since 1999, she said.

Despite her biting critique, she described Bloomberg and Klein as men of "great integrity" who happen to have made a lot of bad decisions.

"I conclude that businessmen and politicians are not better qualified to run the school system than educators," she said.

Tough to argue with that after six years of Chancellor Klein. Though personally, the "great integrity" Ms. Ravitch mentioned has thus far eluded me.

Maybe it's with the WMDs.
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