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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bloomberg, The Little Oligarch Who Could

For those who suffer from the debilitating illusion that there is some scrap of public accountablility for mayors appointed dictators of urban school systems, Prince Bloomberg provides the proper and bitter antidote.  Years of fraudulent achievement data provided the edge to get Bloomberg re-elected with no repercussions.  So now the Prince's disdain for democratic process has become so complete that Meryl Tisch, or even Klein himself, didn't know that Bloomberg was anointing another Upper East Side pal with no background in education to run the New York City Public Schools, the nation's largest ostensibly-public school system.  Give that rich runt an "A" for audacious! 

The Times has a few juicy details, a couple of which are provided here:

. . . . Even Mr. Klein, who had spent eight years running the nation’s largest school system, did not know whom his successor would be until Monday. And not until 30 minutes before the news conference — or just a little before reporters were told, vaguely, of an important announcement — did Mr. Klein inform his leadership team, apologizing for the secrecy of a process over which he said, with resignation, he had no say.

Inexplicable as it may have seemed to outsiders, the secrecy around the search for someone to run the schools crystallized two tenets of the Bloomberg era: the mayor’s faith in the ability of business leaders to fix the ills of government, and his keen dislike of drawn-out public debates that might derail his agenda.

And, in what has become a Bloomberg hallmark, the mayor relied on someone he knew through business and social networks, someone squarely in his comfort zone of wealthy and socially prominent Upper East Side residents, someone with whom he has shared many friends and colleagues, dinners and drinks.. . . .

. . . .Exactly when Mr. Bloomberg began courting Ms. Black for the job is not clear. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said that when he arrived at a diner for breakfast with the mayor on Oct. 19, he ran into Ms. Black, who appeared to have just met with Mr. Bloomberg. The mayor introduced her to the union chief but made no mention of her having interest in or connection to the schools.

Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Black, along with Mr. Klein and Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, are regular attendees of the New York investment bank Allen & Company’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, the exclusive gathering each July of the country’s publishing elite. 

Mr. Murdoch, who provided Mr. Klein with a job as a new executive vice president of News Corporation, was also apparently unaware of the mayor’s choice of Ms. Black until the day of the announcement, according to two people who spoke anonymously so as not to jeopardize access to Mr. Murdoch. These two people said Mr. Murdoch, who has grown more interested in education, had for months been discussing a possible job with Mr. Klein, over meals and at industry events. Mr. Klein said the two met on Sunday to hammer out the details.. . . .
Could we see a merger between Bloomberg and Murdoch, or would such a move simply be too obvious?

1 comment:

  1. NPR did a fluff piece (big surprise) on Klein yesterday. I just couldn't bring myself to listen to the whole thing.