It's teacher hunting season!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Incredulous Bloomberg piousness on WTC mosque, in contradiction to his intolerance on Eid holidays

New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg can be counted on to take the hypocritical high road, backing one principle while disrespecting an individual or a community.
Remember when he crassly was impatient with the wheelchair-using journalist who dropped his voice recorder, and how he took the holier than all road of claiming that showing the slightest patience was impeding the business of marriage equality?

This month we have the mayor being tolerant and intolerant to the same community, the Muslim New Yorkers. He took the high principles road this week, commenting on the fracas over a religious house of worship (specifically, a Muslim mosque) near the 9/11 World Trade Center site where Saudis crashing commercial jet-liners into the Twin Towers.

On Monday July 12, the mayor rightly opposed proposals to investigate the proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site.

Yet in the last month the mayor has repeated his refusal to grant a mere two religious holidays to one of the three largest religious communities in New York City.

The opening fraction of the June 30, 2010 NY1 story ("Group Makes Push For Muslim School Holidays") on the rally for school closings for two Eid day closings, Eid-ul Adha and Eid-ul Fitr begins:
NEW YORK CITY – A group of Muslim parents and their supporters gathered Wednesday on the steps of City Hall where they called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to recognize Islamic holidays on the school calendar.

The coalition of religious, immigrant and labor groups is asking the mayor to honor a City Council resolution calling for two Muslim holy days -- Eid-ul Adha and Eid-ul Fitr -- to be added to the school calendar.

Group Makes Push For Muslim School Holidays
The resolution passed last year, however Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein say there is not room for more time off during the academic year.

The group says the fact they were considering pushing back the first day of school to accommodate Rosh Hashanah indicates that there is flexibility in the system. They also say having no Islamic holidays discriminates against the city's 100,000 Muslim school children.

"Twelve percent of the New York City's 1.1 million school children are Muslim. And our children deserve to have their holiday like everyone else," said City Councilman Robert Jackson.

Too many holidays? Nonsense!! The Christmas holiday, Christmas, is the cause for at least five consecutive days off for that holiday. Plus, occasionally, there is another day or two off for Christian observance: Easter Monday or Good Friday. We already have at least three days off each year for Jewish holidays. So, to argue that two days off for two Muslim holidays is excessive, that is just incredible. France's Agence France Presse has a video story, "US schools ponder Muslim holidays" on this issue. To my mind, we just look plain intolerant by refusing to extend the same respect to Muslim students and staff that we extend to Christian students and staff.
The mayor's biased and inconsistent refusal is obviously grounds for a constitutional, civil right challenge. He can't pass the buck on this issue. The city council has OK'ed this proposal; all stonewalling responsibility lies with King Michael.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Obama threatens veto to get his school-deform ways

Obama vetoing over his bullying for school de-forming.

He's making this the rare case of using his veto?????
And people wonder why we use the term, "Obushma"?

From the L.A. Times, July 12, 2010:
Obama's school-aid showdown
The president is wrongly threatening to veto a school-aid package unless cuts to his Race to the Top program are eliminated.

All across the country, the most pressing need in schools right now is to keep as many teachers, janitors, counselors and librarians as possible. Less important: expanding charter schools and linking teachers' evaluations to their students' test scores.

So we're surprised by the tumult over a school-aid package approved by the House last week as part of a larger appropriations bill. It would provide $10 billion to keep as many school employees as possible in their jobs during the recession, but would do so, in part, by imposing some cuts on the Obama administration's key education initiative. Race to the Top, a $4.3-billion program that provides competitive grants to states that draw up reform programs in keeping with the administration's priorities, would lose $500 million. Two other incentive programs would lose a total of $300 million.

President Obama has threatened to veto the school-aid package unless the cuts to these programs are eliminated. But Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), who inserted the aid package, included those cuts among many others to offset its cost, thus winning support from Republicans and conservative Democrats. Even with the reduction in its budget, Race to the Top would have billions of dollars to hand out. Would the president really undermine desperately needed school funding over a less-than-lethal reduction in the grant program's coffers?

Opponents of the cuts say that more money for schools won't help unless reforms are instituted. But the $10 billion doesn't represent "more" money; it simply makes up for — to a limited extent — devastating budget cuts that schools have suffered in recent years. And reforms will accomplish nothing unless schools can keep teachers in the classroom.

Of course, if Obey had seen Race to the Top as invaluable, he wouldn't have touched its funding. And here we agree with him as well. The concept behind the program is brilliant: Leverage a relatively small amount of money by using competitive grants as an incentive for states to embrace change. Dozens of states have drawn up new legislation and made new pledges in order to align with the administration's goals. But some of those goals are untested and others are too severe. We too believe that teachers' evaluations should have some connection to how their students score on tests, but are dismayed to see states win grants by promising to make those scores account for at least half of a teacher's performance. And though well-run charter schools have brought welcome new practices to public education, the jury is still out on whether charters improve educational outcomes as a whole. Just as important is the question of which charter schools work well; some perform significantly worse than public schools.

It's too bad that Obey's school-aid package doesn't include some reasonable accountability measures of its own, such as a requirement that states not lay off teachers strictly by seniority when doing so would hurt low-income and minority students, or that they begin drawing up plans for thoughtful teacher evaluations. But above all, let's keep teachers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just in case you didn't notice this piece impeding a 4th Bloomberg term

Sometimes the important stories have little fanfare:

A little over one year ago the New York State Assembly passed legislature passed a law requiring a public referendum on whether to extend term limits one more time.

See Elizabeth Benjamin in the New York Daily News, a year ago, June 17, 2009. (Did the Senate pass a parallel bill?)

There just might be hope in avoiding FOUR Bloomberg terms as New York City's mayor.