It's time to go there.
A few minutes after I got the latest flyer from the Bloomberg campaign, I found myself driving up the FDR and doing what the man in the movie Network told us to do. I rolled down the window and yelled out:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"Boy, did it feel good.
There is so much lying these days, and absolutely nobody should be taking it anymore. Particularly people who send their kids to public schools.
Across the front of that flyer there's this bold announcement: "New York's newspapers say: Mike Bloomberg is making PROGRESS in our schools." A nice trick when you think about it, to use quotes from a bunch of newspapers instead of facts.
Inside, a heading quotes from the Daily News: "New York public school students are achieving at unprecedented levels." Well, that's a lie right there — unless you take it to mean that literacy and math competence in our schools have reached an unprecedented low.
Then there are four big-print highlights of the mayor's "strong, independent leadership" and more newspaper quotes to back them:
GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY . . .All lies. Flaming, outrageous, hugely expensive prevarications of a billionaire pol who has quite frankly crossed the line.
MORE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. . .
STANDING UP TO THE BUREAUCRACY . . .
HIGHER TEST SCORES AND GRADUATION RATES . . .
It's clear that the mainstream papers print what the Bloomberg pressroom sends them, because you can't publish something like this:
"Mr. Bloomberg has created clear lines of authority in this once-chaotic system and cut back a spreading bureaucracy that defied previous mayors. Judging by test scores, the city's students are benefiting." (the NY Times, Sept. 08)without someone failing to check the facts and do some analysis.
Fortunately there are muckrakers and sharp-sighted eagles picking up the slack where the ostriches, sloths, and varmints at city newsdesks renege, and there are sites like this to remind you to re-read their posts.
For Bloomberg's claim about "GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY", read how Seung Ok and Steve Koss debunk Press Secretary David Cantor's claptrap on regents scoring over at Ednotes and Leonie Haimson's latest post on the resignation of the DoE's Chief Accountability officer, James Liebman ("the man had no qualifications for the job"). Eduwonkette did a whole week of posts on school report cards when they first came out (she covered strategy, flubs, theory and problems), and you can both laugh and cry at Celia Oyler's pop quiz on the same topic.
For his claim about "MORE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT", see James Eterno's post on how parents had to fight to get a decision-making role at local schools after Klein marginalized them with a 2007 regulation. Then check out this G.E.M. post (earlier ones also) for stories of parents fighting back against BloomKlein's school closings and doing things specifically without their involvement.
For his claim about "STANDING UP TO THE BUREAUCRACY", that's baloney to start with. See Elizabeth Green in Gotham Schools for a frightening account of the three reorganizations of the system to date. How much more fiddling around with bureaucracy can the city take, or pay for?
And for his claim about "HIGHER TEST SCORES and GRADUATION RATES", there's tons on this already. Two good reads come to mind: Diane Ravitch's important testimony at the NYS Assembly on both these topics last February, and NYC Educator "Just the Facts." In fact, you can get a whole lot of other links about grad rates if you read Chaz's post, like he suggests in the comments.
I'm at the stage where rolling down a car window is not going to be nearly enough. It has to be louder, bigger, and pack a big punch.
But until all that comes together, I'll just keep thinking of Gulliver and how a whole lot of little people doing their thing can eventually bring a big guy down.