"... the group unveiled a Web site dedicated to spreading the Bloomberg school-reform gospel, a hub filled with fact sheets, carefully culled news clips and grassroots platitudes. (“We will listen. And we will be heard.”) One section, promoting the “real results” of mayoral control, takes a page from the global-warming-is-real play book. “It’s not just a feeling,” it declares. “It’s really happening.”
In interviews with reporters, the group’s director, Peter Hatch, “offered what he called “opportunities for improvement” (he rebuked the term “criticisms”)—among them, finding ways to give parents more input, make city finances more transparent and nurture independent analyses of school data.
I expressed skepticism to the Times reporter that Hatch would propose ways to give parents more actual input – rather than simply suggest more public hearings. As any NYC parent knows by now, we’ve been subjected to hundreds of hearings, and never once has this administration really listened to anything we’ve said. If Bloomberg or Klein had been had been interested in our views, after all, they would have included questions in the parent survey about whether we agreed with their policies, but this they refused to do.
“Leonie Haimson, a critic of Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts and executive director of the nonprofit Class Size Matters, said she saw the group’s efforts as an attempt to preempt an onslaught of criticism from parent groups. She said she was skeptical of the group’s proposed changes to the mayoral control law.
While Hatch denied to reporters the organization has received funding from Bloomberg himself, he refused to disclose his contributors, though he admits to having “millions” to work with.
And the way in which Brian Keeler, the group’s media consultant, whom we had dubbed "the Mayoral control troll" left anonymous comments on our blog promoting Mayoral control, without disclosing his identity, does not bode well for this group’s sincerity about the need for more transparency.
From Gotham Schools:
“Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters has already done impressive digging into the group’s media strategy. A spokesperson for the group confirmed to me today that the blog commenter Haimson noticed voicing his passion for mayoral control is indeed on the payroll of
The Times article confirms that the MirRam group has been hired as one of the lobbying firms that will try to push Mayoral control through the legislature. As noted previously, MirRam’s chief lobbyists are Roberto Ramirez, formerly chief political boss of the
The Mayor and the DOE won't stop there, of course. Along with the nakedly political campaign of saturation subway ads, etc. being pursued by the Fund for Public Schools, Elizabeth Green of Gotham Schools in a separate article has the goods on how Garth Harries, head of DOE’s portfolio office, used a retreat paid for by the Gates Foundation to persuade charter school and small school operators to help proselytize for continued Mayoral control;
Our tax dollars hard at work.