Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome to Lilliput

NYC Educator brought up the word "liar" in a recent post, and I agree:
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 . . .

MORE PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. . .

STANDING UP TO THE BUREAUCRACY . . .

HIGHER TEST SCORES AND GRADUATION RATES . . .
All lies. Flaming, outrageous, hugely expensive prevarications of a billionaire pol who has quite frankly crossed the line.

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.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg's accomplishments = A BUNCH OF LIES.

Chaz said...

Woodlass:

I think you can add my July 10th post as further evidence in your post.

UA said...

Thanks. Added it to the Graduation rates paragraph.

Anonymous said...

The lying by bloombucks and the collaboration* between the doe and the uft are simply emblematic of what this country has produced.

A small handful of teachers, comparatively speaking, has linked housing, the thorny problem of generations of poverty, and similar issues with teacher misery.

The fact is while "education" has often been employed to keep the masses in line, it has now become a casualty of the nearly unbelievable plans of those with billions of dollars.

To some extent, teachers have been forced into the sad and immoral role of canary in the coal mine: if the poor, innocent canary dies in the mine, then the miners will too, so let the canary test the air and die first.

Teachers are in the vanguard of those dying (literally and in other senses and fashions).

We are among the first to be hounded, harassed, hunted. (SCI investigators even come to your home in the summer and a colleague told me that they went through his papers when he naively and trustingly let them into his home. I cannot verify if this last bit is true or not.)

Which profession, or even job, allows semi-police types to hunt you down and terrorize you this way?

AND: Many, many millions of other U.S. citizens are suffering badly due to the machinations and actions of the bloombucks Stepford types. These Stepford billionaires all behave in the same fashion: pillage, plunder, squander, decimate. Not much imagination and not a scintilla of compassion.

Lying, of course, is foundational. Lying is a hallmark and diagnostic of psychopathy. It is also the coin of the realm with too many of us. It makes true relationship literally impossible.

I do not personally believe in the devil, Satan, etc. But he is a useful pointer to truths about the behavior, thoughts and emotions of human creatures. It is said that Satan is the father of all lies. Think about that one, especially in relation to the plight of teachers and the behavior of politicians and the other Stefordians of their pathetic and ill ilk.

21 days of the NYC DoE's teacher's summer vacation has passed. Be free and enjoy yourselves for the rest of this time.

- KC

* collaboration - a particularly brilliant educator observed the use of "collaborate" years ago and pointed me to the WW II Vichy.