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Friday, March 16, 2007

DOE Plans For Failure

I have not perhaps properly appreciated the past work of Betsy Gotbaum. As NYC Parks Commissioner and Public Advocate, she'd seemed silent and accepting of Mayoral leadership whether the Mayor was David Dinkins or Michael Bloomberg. But see Leonie H's critique of this post in the comments (and mine) below.

However, in recent months, Ms. Gotbaum has come to life in a wonderful way, especially on issues related to education (But, to be fair, on other issues as well). Ms. Gotbaum has played an active and constructive role in the recent debates on the deplorable performance of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein on issues from seized cell phones, bad bus routes and erratic mismanagement.

Most recently, Ms. Gotbaum has put together a powerful, damning presentation which shows how Mr. Bloomberg's Capital Plan for building new schools and classrooms assumes that half of our ninth graders will not become 12th graders. It's an excellent presentation (pdf file) well worth a click and careful review.

Some may complain that Ms. Gotbaum's energy stems from ambition for higher office (She's term-limited out in 2009). If so, I applaud her ambition.


Leonie Haimson said...

Actually she has critiqued this administration's running of the schools from almost the beginning -- see the numerous reports and statements she has put out on the secrecy of the reorganization, the curriculum, her report on the unconscionable cuts to special ed, etc. that date back to April 2003.

For a list of them see

Daniel Millstone said...

I agree that Gotbaum has issued a good series of press statements and thank you for posting the url for them.

As I recall (with all the frailty of aging memory), she attended none of the NYC Council Education Committee hearings while Moskowitz was chair and only one or two of the press events CFE, AQE and others put on.

After her 2005 re-election, (actually, in early 2006) she has shown up a whole lot more -- and, as Woody Allen reminds us, much of success is just showing up.

Gary Babad said...

Though I'm still disappointed that Norman Siegel didn't win that position (he would have been amazing), I agree that she's been a wonderful support for us parents and we certainly owe her a debt of gratitude for publicizing this stuff when other public officials and the press were ignoring it.