Monday, February 23, 2009

Will Bloomberg dump Joel Klein?

Is the question NY Magazine's Intelligencer asks. There is an attempt at analysis in terms of the UFT:

....the problem for Klein is not so much in the data (though critics have accused him of juicing the numbers) but himself. This is a big problem for Bloomberg’s dreams of a third term as “education mayor.” He can’t pay off the United Federation of Teachers, which sat on the sidelines last election, with a better contract this time. “If the UFT decides, based on Klein, to oppose Bloomberg, you’re talking about a lot of troops on the ground,” says labor activist Jonathan Tasini. Knowing this, the union is said to be pushing the mayor to sacrifice Klein. While lawmakers have piled on the chancellor, UFT head Randi Weingarten has restrained her attacks in recent weeks, stirring speculation of a pact with Bloomberg. Weingarten answers gamely: “I’ve found the mayor easier to deal with and more responsive than the chancellor.”
Walcott says, “The mayor is not one to make deals for anything that sacrifices individuals.” But on the question of Klein’s fate,

There's a lot of meat in this section to analyze. The UFT tries to separate Klein and Bloomberg in teachers' minds. This is a political ploy designed to make it seem this struggle is just about individuals and not a massive corporate attack on schools. Why? Because the UFT is aligned with the corporations and does anything it can to divert the members into focusing on Klein as the problem, as if Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, and New Orleans didn't exist as part of the fabric of the reform movement. Remember, Randi gave her blessing to Arne Duncan as Ed Secretary when he is, supposedly, just a more likeable version of Klein. And a better rebounder.

Klein is irrelevant and all attempt to talk about how he is disliked is a smoke screen. So if Klein does go they can use it to claim victory and slide by their tacit support of Bloomberg's third term - see we supported Bloomberg 3rd term, a fait accompli – and got this massive victory in getting rid of Klein.

Total distractive bullcrap.

Michael Fiorillo added this comment on ICE-mail:
Somewhat interesting to see, although one reaction of mine is,

"(If we) Meet the new boss,
(He'll be) Same as the old boss."

Two other reactions:

- Everyone, Randi included, continues with this good cop/bad cop thing with Klein and Bloomberg, when the transparent reality is that Klein is Bloomberg. They may disagree on tactics, and Bloomberg may throw Klein overboard in his own political self-interest, but they share the same worldview about education, as will Klein's (hypothetical) successor.

- On a deeper level, the piece shows the willful naivete/stupidity of the mainstream press with a statement such as, "Both he (Klein) and Bloomberg are... corporate minded,and distrustful of ideology." That's a hot one, since to be "corporate-minded" is by definition ideological: axiomatically anti-labor, obsessed with control over "production" and the pursuit of narrow interests.

How much more ideological can you get?

Michael Fiorillo

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