Thursday, July 17, 2008

A. Russo Asks the Question We Have Been Waiting For

How Long 'Til Mayoral Control Falls Out Of Favor?

Not As Long As You Think.

how long... until a mayor (or candidate) in one of those places suggests that things would be better the other way around -- without mayoral control. Chicago might be first. Thirteen years in, much has changed, but the overall situation.

On the day Randi Weingarten came out in favor of it (May 2001), I raised the issue of mayoral control in Chicago at a UFT Exec. Bd meeting (by handing out a leaflet since I couldn't speak.) Chicago had already gone through 6 years and the attacks on teachers were so vicious, they led to an overturning of the structure in the union with Debbie Lynch getting elected. We can echo Russo in NYC after 6 years: much has changed, but the overall situation.


Anonymous said...

Re: How Long 'Til Mayoral Control Falls Out of Favor

Any student of history is familiar with the "pedulum" effect. That is to say when situations appear to have arrived at a point where the original projected expectations create a sufficient degree of social upset, unrest, and havoc, a counter balancing reaction is initiated, that generally speaking moves things in the opposite direction.

What else is the torturously long reign of "Chancellor" (by Special Waiver)Joel Klein, Esq. over the New York City Schools system, but a microcosm of the Bush years in Washington, DC.

From the very beginning of the Bush years Americans saw rights that were once taken for granted, slowly but surely weakened until those very rights did not even appear to exist any longer.

We witnessed the mindset of the Judges who were appointed and how gradually, over time, those in power became more and more confident that there was almost no affront to the American people that they could not inflict with complete impunity.

Even to the point of insulting the most basic precepts of American Justice, as we know them to be, so that it seemed these people in power might not even hesitate to defecate on the very sheets of parchment on which our American Constitution was inscribed by the Founding Fathers more than two centuries ago.

Is the above, not precisely what we have seen come to pass in New York City, at least as pertains to the mindset of those who have occupied the marbled Halls and walked with a swaggering gait, the echoing corridors of power in the Tweed Court House.

Let us never forget, and remain forever mindful, that this magnificent marbled edifice to rampant and unbridled corruption in all its most ugly forms and manifestations, located at 52 Chambers Street, was named after "Boss Tweed", one of the most nefarious political criminals in the history of this great City.

Just as the misguided policies emanating out of the White House for far too many years have finally visited sufficient pain and misery on the American people to bring this great Nation to its senses- so too can one detect the awakening stirrings of New Yorkers in reaction to having witnessed seeing their beloved Public Schools system taken over and run by a former Federal Prosecutor, from where else- that same Washington, DC alluded to earlier.

And to be more precise, that former Federal Prosecutor, who possesses not slightest or the most minimal Education Credentials to allow him to pretend he qualifies to be a Schools Chancellor, has indeed "run" our schools system- that is to say, he has run it into the ground.

But the great pendulum of History has already been set in motion.

And even as Americans will assure a new rebirth of our Democracy come November at ballot boxes all over this great Republic, from coast to coast and from sea to shining sea, so too will the good citizens of New York City make their voices heard also for the purpose of protecting that which is most dear to them. That is to say, their children.

A cabal of Wall Street types in silk suits, who would sooner give up their American Passports before they would enroll their own children in our City's public schools, are hardly the people who should be in charge of the Fate of more than one million school children who represent our most precious resource. For they are indeed the lifeblood of this thriving City and its greatest hope for the future.

In the US Military do we take a former Partner from "Bear Sterns" and make him a Four Star General, responsible for the lives of one hundred thousand brave men and women in Uniform.

Do we place former stock brokers in Air Control Towers and pray that they bring our planes down safely? Or perhaps you would like the next "triple by-pass" operation on your heart to be performed by a Wall Street Funds Manager or some former Federal Prosecutor.

How did we ever get to this point where someone decided that the best people to run the largest schools system in the nation were people who had little to zero experience in the field of Education.

The damage done to this great Nation by people in Washington ill equipped to lead a Nation much less a corner candy store, is also the same type of horrendous harm that has been visited on the New York City schools system by appointed hacks, stooges and lackeys that do not have a clue, much less any real experience or bona fide credentials to be trusted with the lives and futures of one million children.

We note the countless numbers of "disappeared" teachers who have been exiled to Mr. Joel Klein, Esq.'s vile "Rubber Room gulags", simply for having refused to march in "goosestep" order to all his ill conceived policies originating from a lethal combination of abysmal ignorance about the field of Education and learning in general, and of course Mr. Klein's limitless degree of "Hubris".

But let us take heart and recognize that "Change" is indeed in the air. It will rise like a great wind and blow the old order out of the seats of power in our Nation's Capitol. Just as the winds of change will sweep people from the field of Education in New York's public schools system who have no business being there now or should ever have been placed in control of our schools in the first place.

If one is a Federal Prosecutor, then let him stay in the Court System and prosecute. And let those who have devoted their entire lifetimes to the noble field of Education, be allowed to run our public schools system in New York City.

One million school children deserve no less.

David Pakter, M.A., M.F.A.

Decorated personally by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as New York
"Teacher of the Year"

Anonymous said...

well said.

Anonymous said...

David you are completely right. Our country went down the river with this administration. We need real educators no prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the constant propaganda that Americans have been fed since the infamous "A Nation at Risk", you can see where the average person is pretty frightened and disillusioned with public education. Once you have created such an environment, and put people in such a state, they are willing to try anything different.
"Put the mayor in charge of public schools? Hey, why not. What we've been doing hasn't been working."
It's classic strategy and has worked brilliantly, when you think about it.

Anonymous said...

Avoiceinbewilderness has to be the only person in the world who thinks public education is just fine, if only all those people would stop trying to improve it.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I actually work in a public school, so I know it's far from fine.
I would love to see reform-true reform that starts with improving the system from the inside and addressing the very real needs of the children.
This has not happened at all during Mayoral Control-despite the propaganda.
Again, as a person who actually works in an inner city school, and doesn't simply claim to, I can attest that very little has changed - if anything, standards have been lowered even further.
The skill levels of our incoming freshmen has gotten dramatically worse over the past few years, and teachers are being urged to pass as many children as possible.
How is that an improvement?

Anonymous said...

Because there is accountability. I won't be satisfied until my principal, who I hate but never say so, has the right to fire me for no reason whatsoever. I've been teaching in the city for 10, or possibly 25 years so I know what I claim to be talking about.

Anonymous said...

I don't criticize my principal. He is the boss for pete's sake. One must never criticize one's boss.
One must never criticize one's mayor.
One must never criticize anything that one is told to follow for that matter. One must never challenge anything that one sees - this would be very bad.
One must simply follow what one is told and go peacefully into one's grave when one is told to do so.

Under Assault said...

Back to what AVoiceIn said at 11:41 (before 12:53 anon. demonstrated how some people do not read for content), it's not only the propaganda, but the intentional dismantling of a system and subsequent experimental reconstruction of another one.

And Klein did this three time times in 5 years, working on the fly, twiddling around with his expensive construction set, almost testing himself to see if he could figure out something big and bold that would once and for all actually work.

I see it as a cross between Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine (capitalize on chaos, then re-build to your own ideologies when the people are too numb and dispossessed to understand what's going on), Joel Klein's own thirst for rigging up a very big game but not for educating a single child, and the influence of a stadium-size group of corporate types who have a sixth sense for where to make the next big buck.

A lethal cocktail of anti-child, anti-parent, anti-teacher and anti-citizen ideology, and we should rage against it until that pendulum not only swings, but bumps all the scummy movers and shakers right into oblivion.

There. Got that off my chest.

Anonymous said...

The only part you guys have wrong is the part about this administration being bad for education. They're bad for bad teachers, but that's good for education; good for kids.

I don't care what someone's background is as long as they do a good job, and to answer some of the loonies' questions, yes, many industries do pull in CEOs from other industries. Leadership is a set of skills, and one can be a strong leader without content knowledge as long as you have knowledgeable advisors. Most importantly, Klein understands that to effect lasting and dramatic change (the kind of change that Avoicein doesn't believe is necessary because everything's just peachy), one must make people uncomfortable. He has succeeded in making lots of terrible teachers uncomfortable, which is why there are so many angry edubloggers out there. Those who can't teach, blog about how the administration makes it so they can't teach.

Anonymous said...

You're the best Socrates. I don't care about anyone's background, especially teachers. Why do they have to know anything to teach? Just get tehm knowledgeable advisors from Teach for America. Those angry bloggers out there should definitely be in the rubber room and all those teacher bloggers from New York City who praise Klein to the sky should get teacher of the year awards. If only we could find one. Socrates, please, please, please. Find me one. Somewhere. Anywhere. Thoses 85% of the 62,000 teachers who agreed that Klein is awful are all bad, bad, bad. Can we build stadiums to send them all to the rubber room?

avoiceinthewilderness said...

Listen Socrates, why don't you just admit that you miss me? Geez... every time I post a comment, you pop up. I even try using a different name. I feel like a stalked blogger.
Norm, is there a safe house where I can go to be free from this?

Anonymous said...

AVIW, I can always rely on you to get personal when your arguments fail. I guess you have a lot of practice. You, of course, addressed none of my points, but why let that stop you?

ed notes online said...

Hey aonon 6:54, better known as socrates, schmucrates, mockrates, pretend NYC teacher, etc - what happened to your blog? Can't get anyone to read it? The main point is that you are a shill who has suddenly become "anonymous" to give the impression that there may be more than one person out there with your phony credentials.