Sunday, February 10, 2019

School Scope - Where Do Public Advocate Candidates Stand on Education Issues?

Published Feb. 8, 2019

School Scope: Where Do Public Advocate Candidates Stand on Education Issues?
By Norm Scott

I ask the question because from reading The WAVE’s coverage based on interviews with some of the candidates, I don’t see questions or comments related to push-button education issues like over reliance on testing, teachers being evaluated based on tests, support for public education and schools, as opposed to privately managed charters which pull funding from real public schools while also imposing rigid and oppressive controls over children while also suffering a high turnover rate of teachers, the education-industrialist complex which enriches itself on the backs of policy decisions pushed by their lobbyists, the class size debate, and more.

Let’s take our native Republican, Erich Ulrich, whose half page front page photo in the Jan. 25th edition of The WAVE was joined by another half-page of coverage on p. 12.
Not a word on education, though I didn’t listen to the podcast. Ulrich says the key issue is that Mayor de Blasio is unchecked and he is the only candidate to stand up to the mayor when in fact many of the candidates on the Democratic side have been perfectly willing to stand up to the Mayor. I’ll point to leading candidates Jumaane Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito as examples of people who have challenged the Mayor. [Full disclosure: I attended a Jumaane Williams fundraiser and am leaning in his direction in spite of some ambivalence on charter schools.]

Ulrich is a Never-Trump Republican. Trump’s Education Secretary is Betsy DeVos who is committed to privatizing and destroying public education. Here’s a link to an interesting article showing a long-term conspiracy in which she has played a major role: So does Urich’s stance on Trump include rejecting the Trump/DeVos education initiatives? I’m going to assume he supports charters as so many Democrats do. I do wonder how Republicans who are avid Trumpers feel about Ulrich’s criticisms of Trump? A true-Trump Republican has shown up in the race to challenge the assumption Ulrich will get the bulk of Republican votes. With the west end of Rockaway voting over 75% for Trump it will be interesting to see how those votes play out in this race. At any rate, no matter who is the winner, the victory is only temporary as there will be another election in the fall to fill the seat permanently.

Maybe Eric should consider running against Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, which would make him a hero to many in all parties and might give him a better shot for Mayor in 2021.

Cory Booker slammed by educators
The reaction from teachers to the Booker announcement he is running for president was: NO WAY. Booker’s history has been as a major supporter of the education reform agenda and he has a long-term relationship with Betsy DeVos. Plus his history of alliances with Big Pharm. Expect a lot of pushback from teacher unions and the question is whether anyone can win the Dem nom without teacher union support.

Charters in Los Angeles slammed
Famed educational historian Diane Ravitch at one time supported charter schools but over the past decade, seeing the corruption and degradation of public schools as a result of the charter push, has turned against them. Here she pushes back against the claim of charters that there are long waiting lists (just ask for to see a copy of that list and watch them run).
Ravitch writes: Remember the stories about the long waiting lists to get into charters? Baloney. In Los Angeles, more than 80% of all charter schools have vacancies. Yet the billionaires are still spending to try to open more charters, in the absence of need or demand. Please read this article in California-based Capital & Main, which contains a fascinating statistical analysis of charter school saturation. The evidence suggests, writes Larry Buhl, that charter schools are now stealing students not only from public schools but from other charter schools.

Norm’s has no waiting list at his blog at

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