"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bloomberg, Klein, and the Stealth Privatization Plan

Even though there are few details available on Bloomberg's stealth privatization plan for NYC Schools, there is enough to know that this Tucker Lite version of corporatized education will be conducted without consulting teachers and principals and without the benefit of 6 of the 10 school superintendents who will be replaced by private management outfits that will contract with the Mayor's Office. If principals choose to sign test score performance contracts, they can become "empowerment" schools and be serviced by these new edu-business versions of Kellogg, Brown, and Root.

Taking a page from the Bush playbook on delivering news you'd rather not make public, Bloomberg sent Klein out on Friday to make the announcement during a speech to, who else, a hand-picked group of corporate executives who are part of the "partnership." Wonder how many of these corporate partners have children who attend the crumbling school buildings that they will now manage as the bold new civic-minded slumlords whose real focus remains on minimizing the city tax bill on their deliriously-rich Manhattan sultanates.

With testing practices in place that assure the failure of the most vulnerable children, and with retention policies locked in that hold children back, thus increaing their likelihood of dropping out later, Klein, a mealy-mouthed version of Dickens's Gradgrind, had the audacity Friday to lay claim to a phrase by Jonathan Kozol to characterize the apartheid education system that Klein and Bloomberg are scheming to perpetuate:
Mr. Klein defended the need for vast change to the school system. “How can we be anything but bold,” the chancellor asked, “when 140,000 of our children between the ages of 16 and 20 years old have either dropped out or are on the verge of dropping out?”

Calling the failures of school systems “the shame of our nation,” Mr. Klein said, “We must move forward with resolve.”

Breath-taking, and truly Rovian.

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