Posted tagged ‘New York’

Supposed Education Reformers Don’t Do Irony

April 20, 2010

Following the #RTTT channel on Twitter, I’ve noticed that the neo-liberal education reformers who post on there seem terribly deficient in their ability to notice irony.   Maybe that’s why so many people who seem intent on destroying the public  education system as we know it and exacerbating the differences between the haves and have nots always have happy fuzzy bunny names like Education Equality Now or something.  If you want to understand neo-liberal education reform, you have to follow the money and that means following it into dark alleys.   There’s a reason that Goldman-Sachs has been so active in promoting this garbage.   There’s a great deal of money at stake here if you know where to look.

New York: Some supporters of New York Charter schools have been fuming at the thought of an open discussion about charter schools.  Instead they want to blindly raise the charter cap.  In the New York Post today Thomas Carroll cried union conspiracy. I can’t help wondering if it’s his own misdeeds that have him scared.  The main villain in this drama is State Senator Bill Perkins who has called for a public hearing.  In the hearing notice he says, “The purpose of this hearing is to examine the business of charter schools by reviewing their development as a privatized solution to public education.  Towards this end, we will hear from parents, educators, legislators, elected officials, advocates, charter operators, and other relevant authorities at the city and state level.”  Scandalous.  I can see why those education reformers who keep saying we need more accountability would be terrified of such a hearing.

West Virginia: If anything should have reminded this country of the importance of labor unions, it was the explosion at a Massey Coal Mine in West Virginia a few ago.   There was an excellent writeup of the American Legislative Exchange Council and their role in the Massey tragedy.   What the article leaves out is the soulless right wing’s involvement in the education reform movement.  Do a google search on ALEC and education and you get plenty of that terrific free market anti-union chatter.   Don’t be fooled.   They’re against coal miners being unionized just as much as they’re against teachers being unionized.

Florida: Governor Charlie Crist has been viciously attacked for vetoing one of the most misguided education reforms ever to make it through a state legislature (and that’s saying something).   The SB6 legislation would have ended tenure and seniority as well as a lot of local control and give all teachers a salary based on one standardized test.  The Republican governor said his April 15 veto was not about politics. But he acknowledged an outpouring of opposition by teachers, parents, and local school officials around the state had an effect.  The response to the veto was swift:

Neal Boortz said, “Crist traded improvements for Florida government schools and the welfare of students for support from the teacher’s unions for an independent bid for the Senate Seat. For Crist political power and perks come before the welfare of Florida’s schoolchildren.”

It is very disappointing that Governor Crist abandoned the children of Florida and sided with the teachers union,” Gingrich said. “Florida had a real chance to reform education on behalf of children.”

What nobody seemed to point out in questioning whether Crist was for sale in his opposition to this great piece of legislation was that the bill’s sponsor James Thrasher was already bought and paid for by two out of state testing companies  who gave Thrasher’s lobbying firm up to $190,000 in cash between 2008-2009.  Yep, sometimes you just have to follow the money.

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A Tale of Two Cities

January 21, 2010

AES Proposed Phase-Out: Shop Classes put to music by Mark Noakes from Save AES CTE HS on Vimeo.

It started in Chicago, but New York really seems to have the hang of this whole resistance to privatization movement and has hit the ground running as they attempt to stand up to Mayor Bloomberg’s attempts to experiment on the children of the city he bought.    The above link (in orange) is to an amazing music video that was created by students at Alfred E. Smith High School to draw attention to their situation. At the January 26th board hearings, which like Chicago will most undoubtedly be a rubber stamp sham, a huge protest of thousands is expected.

The protesters have also won a court case giving them the right to picket the mayor’s house on January 21st. The protests have been massive with over 500 people at the Jamaica High School Hearing alone. It is great to see the students, parents, teachers, and community members of New York so actively engaged in this struggle. Mayor Bloomberg like Mayor Daley in Chicago is going after schools in predominately working class minority neighborhoods for gentrification purposes.

In Chicago, this process has been going on since Mayor Daley got total control of the city’s public schools in 1995 or at least since he and Arne Duncan rolled out the Renaissance 2010 in 2004. Hey, that reminds me–we’re in a Renaissance!! Resistance has been slowly, but surely picking up steam. Last year, protesters even camped out in front of the Board of Education.

It remains to be seen if Chicago can stay united and fight these closings.   In 2009, groups like GEM and CORE saved 6 schools.   They’ve tasted the blood in the water and they will be trying to fight it again.  New York provides a lot of inspiration.   Speaking of inspiration, the video at the top of this article is from Sam Cooke.  He was a graduate of Wendel Phillips High School in Chicago–one of the schools that is on the block.

There've been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
Now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long
A long time coming but I know a change gon' come
Oh Yes it will