It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

You, the public, and your last chance to speak on mayor control of the schools

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has transformed the New York City school system by centralizing the schools under his control.
He has had as a partner, Joel Klein, to serve as schools chancellor. He is a corporate lawyer, who had no experience with the education field.
Seldom mentioned among education critics has been the role by computer software and operating system monopolist Bill Gates. Through his Gates Foundation he has pushed his educational ideas and agenda. The roles by Klein and Gates are problematic because they lack experience in education. Schools are not businesses; they cannot be addressed in such a manner.
Later this month, on March 20, 10 AM, the public will have its last chance to speak out on school governance. People will have an opportunity to express their reactions to the direction of school policy. People will have much to say about the Mayor and the Chancellor.
The meeting will be in the auditorium of the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel at 333 Adams Street. (Take the 2,3,4, or R to Boro Hall or the A, C or F train to Jay Street/ Boro Hall.)

(See the ICE faction of the United Federation of Teachers and their report suggesting an alternate direction for school governance.)
Another teacher's public statement against the UFT's stance on school governance.

Privatization of government, policy
Many critics have criticized, and will criticize on that day, the closed manner of public policy making by the Mayor and Chancellor. However, they should also criticize the overlap of private organizations in the city's education system. We have a democracy so that we can participate in our government. Instead, the mayor has elided any public role. In its place he has concentrated all decision making power for himself and the chancellor. And along the way he has made private institutions have a central role. He has hired no-bid private consultants.
The critics should not forget to criticize Bill Gates' role. What right does Gates have in setting an agenda for our public schools. Through his foundation he has pursued an agenda of replacing large established schools with smaller schools. Where was the public discussion of this matter? Where was any discussion that cited literature and weighed the benefits and disadvantages of pursuing a small school movement?

On another front, in a period of budget crisis, when there is a hiring freeze on teachers, the city is hiring more bureaucrats and lawyers at the Education Department's Tweed offices. (See "The New York Daily News," February 23, 2009.") This further illustrates an imperviousness on the part of the mayor and chancellor.

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