Looks like New york City's Privatizer in chief got a little taste of public contempt when he was forced to stand down with his asinine idea to proceed with the NYC marathon as the city is still on its knees from Hurricane Sandy. I hate to say it's a pattern but it's a pattern. Once upon a time we all thought old soldiers would make great Presidents. Washington didn't do too badly, or Ike either for that matter but in between we endured some serious Grants and a Harrison or two. The post modern version of this misconstrued logic is the election of CEO's under the same misguided logic we used to use in electing Generals. The idea that a strong performance on the battlefield translates into great leadership within a system of checks and balances has been disproved and we've moved on. The maddog of Fallujah, heavily decorated Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient David Bellavia can't even get himself elected to catch dogs. (WBEN radio has found a place for him though as he leans hard right.)
Sadly for the democratic realities of the republic though our CEO class tend to make really shitty elected officials mainly because they've spent their entire professional lives surrounded by humans with all the moral character and backbone of Michael Jackson's entourage. They are accustomed to issuing directives and imperatives, not reaching consensus and building bridges. They fire volleys across the aisle they don't reach their hands across it. The cluelessness of Bloomberg and the narcissistic fatuousness of declaring that the race must go on is a textbook case of a CEO in elected office trying to perform like a CEO not an elected official. And you just know, you KNOW damned well when the first few raspberry tweets, bronx cheers and WTFs appeared on Facebook, the Blooming idiot sniffed and scoffed and tried to brush them aside. After all he's the mayor of NYC, people are going to do what he says. Just ask anyone who thinks they're going to drink a Big Gulp on his watch. Why just look at the fine work he's done with the NYC Public Schools that over half the city's residents say are not better off than when he took power. And look at how he's created gotcha teams that race around working hard to fire teachers for offenses like whistleblowing on crooked administrators. Bloomie has also created school report cards which have turned out to be a complete flop. He has co-habitated charter schools with public schools jamming charters into existing buildings and trying to starve out the public schools.
Diane Ravitch makes a great point on her blog the other day. She points out how the privatizers sequel to Waiting for Superman has virtually disappeared from theatres and according to figures was grossing something like 200 bucks per house by last weekend. How did this happen you ask. Simple. Parents got out in front of it. Who got out in front of it ? The teacher's unions ? No, you heard that correctly. The Parents got out in front of it and called it what it was : a misleading propaganda piece and a hit job on teacher's unions. Parents Across America, a REAL parent group, not some bunch of bought and paid for shills who shake their pom poms on cue when Michelle Rhee, Murdoch and Eva Destruction give the order, were quick to put out their own assessment of this cinematic stool sample. PAA cranked out a simple FACT SHEET that essentially told anyone with a working brain all they needed to know about this disingenuous propaganda piece spewed out by an anti-gay right wing Christian billionaire who also has his fingers in the highly profitable edubiz world. If there's a connection to be made here friends -- and I believe there is or I wouldn't be sitting here on a Sunday with about 17 things I should be doing trying to write about it -- the connection is that people like Bloomberg in positions of power are not good for education, for society or for our kids. The lie that a CEO can jump into politics and "run it like a business" is the same lie they are trying to spread about education. The privatizers all want to see education run like a business. Thus their commissioned pay schemes like the one they are trying to impose on teachers in Newark. The idea that paying a person more for better standardized test results so far has led to a significant number of cheating scandals but has yielded ZERO research proving merit pay is good for kids. So we were a little slow out of the gate figuring out that battlefield heroics don't mean squat in the arm twisting and butt kissing milieu of elected officials. It appears we are even slower yet to conclude sensibly the same thing about the CEO class. I just heard on the radio CEO union hater Chris Collins and Kathy Hochul are locked in a virtual death roll the difference between them falling within the poll's margin for error. Likewise on the national stage with yet another petulant CEO and union hater slithering within a point or two of the sitting President who sadly for us has some serious loyalty issues with the organized labor base who helped put him on Pennsylvania Avenue.
So what's the upshot? For my money, little that I have of it, contrary to what Sam Radford and his anti teachers buddies Pridgen and Hare would have you believe, I have to believe that we need to keep spreading our story wherever we can. The manager of 7-11 by my house asked me the other night about something he heard from Tom Bauerle. I was only too happy to set up my soap box and unload. And I know it isn't always the case that someone will actually listen to or actually grasp what we're saying but I think we need to take the time as educators and educate people. Fact is my friend at 7-11 all ready knew we were expected to be evaluated on scores of kids who refuse to attend school. How can they do that? he asked incredulously. They do it because they are looking for ways to create the perfect evaluation system for them, not for the good of kids or the professional development of teachers. What they want is a system that can be tweaked to get rid of any teacher good bad or indifferent. The fact that teacher's unions make it hard for them to pick us off arbitrarily is probably the biggest boulder in the path of the privatizers ultimate goal of eliminating public schools and replacing them with for profit testing madrassas that will crank out subservient, spineless, dumbasses who can take tests and say things like Yes Massuh, right away suh. They will need to keep a token number of public schools open as dumpsters for the kids they toss out due to learning problems, emotional issues, handicapping conditions that require OT, PT and Speech therapy. The product they spit out will be substandard and as shoddy as any other lousy item mass produced by corporate machinations more concerned about cutting costs than creating excellence.
But at the end of the day the privatizers will walk away jingling with a bunch of that federal ed money that was going to waste on kids before they showed up. If you believe we can do better than caving in and throwing up our hands in despair, allowing privileged shitheads like the Chameleon Group to waltz in and start stealing our schools from us then you need to re-commit and engage in the battle that's on our doorstep whether you feel up to it or not. We have guys like me trying to squeeze out a few blogposts a week for a handful of folks who need no conversion nor any preaching from me. They have full time lobbyists, strategists, billions from foundations like Gates and the Waltons and Broads. But they are dead ass fucking WRONG and we are RIGHT. Board of Ed meeting this wednesday at City Hall. I will bet you the privatizers have their fakeass grass roots thang on and they will be there in their tinfoil hats bleating and braying about THE CHILDREN. If you can't make it tell someone you know what can make it. We need to stop making it so damned easy for these weasels to raid our chicken coop.