Monday, March 07, 2011

Where's the Liberal Bias I'm Looking For?

The New York Times, always staid, always calm, ran a featured editorial about the need of public workers to sacrifice. While the Times has a reputation for liberalism, like all papers, it's had to deal with unions.  And that's not always easy. My uncle was an accountant for the Times, and he hated unions. When the News unions struck, he made it a point to buy the scab paper on the street every day.

So when the NY Times speaks of sacrifices public employees need to make, I'm not surprised they neglect to mention Andy Cuomo just dispensed a 5 billion dollar tax break to New York's Richest. I'm not surprised they forget how Barack Obama just extended the Bush tax cuts, the ones he specifically promised to cut if we voted for him. I'm not surprised they conclude being overly generous to union workers is breaking the bank.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Times forgets how many of us worked for lower salaries than our private counterparts for so many years, and that whatever benefits we accrued were directly related. It was pretty much understood that teachers, for example, would never get rich, but that we had better pensions and health benefits than many of our private counterparts.

Now, of course, our friends in private industry are hurting. And the right, joined by faux-Democrats, sees an opportunity. There was no problem in us making less money all these years. That's particularly egregious to longtime city teachers, constantly paid far less than our suburban counterparts. While it's not quite so outrageous as it once was, I will never forget meeting a teacher from East Meadow with 10 fewer years than I had making 10K more than I was.

We were never the money-hungry, self-serving slobs the media has portrayed us to be, and that hasn't changed at all. I'm not saying anyone else has to do this, but I'm at work an hour early almost every day. I stay late on a regular basis, for various reasons. I know many of my colleagues do the same. I can't and don't stop thinking about my job when the final bell rings.

Yet I'm certain Mayor4Life Bloomberg would fire me if he got half a chance, and hire someone making half my salary. And please, don't even get me started about merit. If this mayor gave a damn about merit, he certainly wouldn't have hired Cathie Black as Chancellor. He wouldn't overcrowd schools, and he wouldn't make phony unenforceable deals about class size reduction. If he gave a damn about merit, he'd offer city kids the same sort of education his kids, Joel Klein's kids, and Cathie Black's kids got.
In fact, if Michael Bloomberg gave a damn about merit, he wouldn't be talking about layoffs at all. There's no merit in that notion whatsoever, and class sizes will explode even further if there are fewer teachers.

I don't suppose the editorial writers from the Times read this blog. Maybe they're too busy poring over PR from Tweed. In any case, the result is the same. The "paper of record" has little notion of, let alone interest in what's going on in education. I can only speculate on what that means for those who rely on it for national, international and political news.
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