Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Equal Than Others

There isn't a whole lot of glamor in educating students of special needs.  Perhaps that's why Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has decided to run roughshod over a school for autistic children and devote its space to a charter school.  Or perhaps it's because so many of his good buds are on the board of the charter school.  Can you say "conflict of interest?"

Of course, given mayoral control, it doesn't much matter what you say.  Essentially the law declares they can do what they want, how they want, whenever they want, and that the board that ostensibly approves these things is a sham.   But who knew there was an "emergency" clause that declared Klein could defy orders from the state whenever he felt like it?

Yesterday I went to a demonstration downtown where people stood up and demanded that Klein reconsider.  One can only hope this is the first of many.  Despite the cynical motto of "Children First," it's fairly clear that children are neither here nor there in the big picture--giving hedge fund magnates charter schools wherever they want, and whenever they want.

When people like Joel Klein say "Children First," it really means "Teachers Last."  That's why the city managed to give 4% raises to all but teacher unions, offered less than half to teachers, then publicly reduced the offer to nothing.  They'd fire every teacher in the city and replace them with scarecrows if they could.

Except in the charters the chancellor's buddies control.  Their kids are important.
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