Thursday, July 23, 2009

News Flash--Bill Thompson Wakes Up

After months of campaigning, NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson has woken up and realized that in order to run against an incumbent billionaire "education" mayor, it's prudent to disagree with that mayor's educational positions. As comptroller, Mr. Thompson has discovered that the DoE manipulates test scores.

Naturally, I'm shocked and stunned. Not that the DoE manipulates test scores--but that Mr. Thompson has finally said so in public. There seems to be a tradition of prominent public figures ignoring the antics of this administration. That's why folks like Mr. Thompson, Shelly Silver, and part-time UFT President Randi Weingarten have so prominently supported the mayoral control that enabled such nonsense in the first place.

Mr. Thompson has also concluded that Chancellor Joel Klein has gotta go. This determination, apparently, eluded him over the last eight years. Now don't get me wrong--I'm glad Mr. Thompson has come to his senses. I wonder, though, why he's been so ginger about these things for so long.

It could certainly have much to do with the fact that he's been the darling of Ms. Weingarten's UFT over the last year. Of course, Ms. Weingarten had been laboring under the misconception that this was Mayor Bloomberg's final term. One of the assumptions the UFT has been making since I started 25 years ago is that the next mayor would be friendly to teachers--but it's always proven absolutely wrong. Ms. Weingarten and the UFT aristocracy doggedly refuse to acknowledge this or learn from decades of history.

I can't say how closely Bill Thompson has studied the history of this union, but I've been watching them very closely for the last few years. I'll make a prediction. Ms. Weingarten and her merry band, despite Thompson's willingness to go out of his way to speak up for them, will abandon him utterly come November. This is likely part of the contract Ms. Weingarten has already negotiated, in exchange for her support of the disaster that is mayoral control. I hope he knows that.

If he can't figure that out, he doesn't stand a chance.
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