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

Friday, May 01, 2009

How Bloomberg's School Business Model Went Bust

We can imagine clearly now with more than a twinge of real pain what things could have been like if Grover Norquist's puppet, George Bush, had had his way and turned over all of Social Security to Wall Street to handle. Now we can see what the real meaning of social safety net is, just as we can once again see the undisguised meaning of what "free markets" mean.

Now we see, too, that the religious fervor among New York City Business Roundtablers for school charterization and the spread of more private schools was based on the same kind of wishful greed that enabled the destruction of the American economy, again. The Bloomberg-Klein braintrust believed they could continue to shrink the public school system as those market forces we used to hear so much about shoved their way in to replace the white public schools that would have been abandoned for more upscale private boutiques that could be easily afforded in the economy that only went up. What would be left of the public system would be a conglomeration of cheap charter chain gangs for the poor, all run by corporations at public expense.

Bloomberg-Klein could never imagine there could be circumstances that would have the white middle class again enrolling their children in public schools. And, of course, the current outrage among middle class NYC parents who can no longer afford private school for their kindergartners is the outcome. Unfortunately, for Bloomberg, he cannot call up the shop floor and have more public kindergartens manufactured by month's end. Oh, well--maybe New Yorkers will have had enough of lawyers and MBAs running the schools.

The story from the Times:

As a growing collection of Manhattan’s most celebrated public elementary schools notify neighborhood parents that their children have been placed on waiting lists for kindergarten slots, middle-class vitriol against the school system — and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — is mounting.

Parents are venting their frustrations in e-mail messages and phone calls to the mayor, local politicians and the schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein (“You have unleashed the fury of parents throughout this city with your complete lack of preparedness,” read one father’s recent missive, which he shared with The New York Times). Some plan a rally on the steps of City Hall for next Wednesday afternoon (“Kindergartners Are Not Refugees!” proclaims a flier), and some are taking it upon themselves to scour the city for potential classroom space.

The outpouring of anger comes as state lawmakers consider whether to renew mayoral control of the city school system, which expires in two months, and Mr. Bloomberg is seeking a third term in part on his education record.

“I got a call from Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign about yadda yadda yadda was I going to vote for him,” said Beth Levison, a documentary filmmaker whose son is No. 79 of 90 on a combined waiting list for Public School 41 and Public School 3, both in Greenwich Village. “As a parent who has a child with no place to go next year, no indication of where he’s going to go next year as a result of the mayor taking control of education, I said absolutely not.

“You would think that Bloomberg, who is a businessman, knows how to manage inventory like this,” Ms. Levison continued. “My kid isn’t just a bottle of vodka, but this is about inventory.”. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jim, this is one of the most important stories of the year. The poster child of privatization and warning that will get little attention.

    The free market, Ayn Rand theory, is based on an idyllic world where nothing can go wrong or ever changes. But something just went wrong...again.