Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sharpton and Klein Team Up

Reverend Al Sharpton and NYC Schools Chancellor are teaming up for a "national, high-profile political campaign" regarding education. What they want specifically is a big secret. The only hint they're dropping is "Teachers haven't done enough."

It's nice to see Mr. Klein reach out for diverse support in his longterm effort to vilify teachers and cripple unions (After all, you can't depend on UFT President Randi Weingarten for everything). Perhaps Reverend Sharpton is impressed with the Bloomberg administration's record of hiring minorities. After all, Mayor Bloomberg managed to win an impressive number of minority votes when he ran in 2005.

Oddly, Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice is not impressed at all with Hizonner's hiring record:

While Bloomberg's sensitive handling of the Sean Bell shooting and other police-abuse cases are commendable milestones in his two-term tenure, the meager results of his minority hiring and contracting initiatives suggest that, with just a year and a half to go, his legacy on racial-justice issues will be tough to square with the record-setting minority vote that re-elected him.

After election day, the implementation of both initiatives was immediately relegated to an obscure city agency called the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)—which had, surprisingly, more blacks at the top under Rudy Giuliani than it does today under Mike Bloomberg. Once run by a series of four consecutive black commissioners and other minority deputies, its table of organization now lists white employees in virtually every top position; the sole exception is Larry Scott Blackmon, a former aide to Rangel who worked in the 2005 Bloomberg campaign.

And anyone who's watching will have to admit that this administration's offered multiple opportunities for minorities in education. Where else can kids study in trailers and closets? Who but Chancellor Klein offers the highest class sizes in the state? Who else can get away with pushing test scores at the expense of virtually everything else, and then failing to make significant progress on the only scores he can't manipulate? Who else can take a 14-year-old lawsuit designed specifically to get kids better teachers and smaller classes, and demand its funding be used for merit pay?

You have to give Mr. Klein credit. He's snowed the tabloids, he's snowed a lot of New Yorkers, and now he's snowed Al Sharpton. It certainly shows that determination and a clear agenda pay off.

UFT bigshots could learn much from him, if only they were remotely inclined to learn anything whatsoever.

Thanks to Sol Bellel

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