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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Richard Barr on NY Post editorial

This past week, the New York Post ran an editorial about the large rally at which elected and appointed officials, representatives of the teachers union, community organizations, and, most of all, students and parents, the actual consumers of the public school system, showed up to voice opposition to yet another top-down, large-scale reorganization of the school system taking place without significant prior consultation with the stakeholders.

Clearly, the feeling is widespread that the current administration, as embodied by the Mayor and the Chancellor, ought to do less imposing and more collaborating.

The Post editorial appeared in print before the event had even taken place, denouncing it in advance as something at which the union was calling the tune and everyone else was a puppet.

The editorial made assertions which were, in equal measures, highly ridiculous and highly insulting to all involved. They included accusations that everyone involved in the rally just wanted to go back to a system of no accountability, in which special interests benefited from contracts, that the Mayor and Chancellor were the only game in town when it came to meaningful school reform, and that they were even the only ones who gave a damn about the kids.

Leaving aside a host of other questions about these assertions -- about how well other recent reorganization moves have worked so far, how they are implemented, whether under the current system contracts are allocated even more perniciously on a no-bid basis to consultants who cut the kids' bus routes, whether those at the rally have legitimate and sincere concerns, whether these reorganizations ought to be discussed before they are announced as final -- let's just focus on the last one.

The Mayor and the Chancellor are the only ones who give a damn about the kids? Not the teachers? And most of all, not the kids' parents?

The Post is, of course, free to present its editorial opinion. Parents, union members and others similarly slighted are also free to express their opinion of that opinion, and might well consider organized "do not buy the Post" campaigns among their colleagues. Depriving the owners of your quarter also deprives them of circulation numbers, which results in lower advertising revenue.

Other unions whose legitimate organizing efforts on their own behalf have been met with similar contempt and derision by the paper's editorialists might well consider the same type of effort. Money talks loudly in this society. And, for those who currently purchase the paper to satisfy some guilty pleasure or other, there are plenty of other media outlets available to fill the bill.

Just a thought.

Richard Barr
Public school parent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant piece by Richard Barr. There are some indications, finally, that Klein is losing his image of invincibility and noble motivation with the public and being suspected of what he is: a wicked saboteur of public education.