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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GBN News Editorial: Point Taken

As is now apparent, for the last six years NY City public school students, parents and teachers have been privileged to participate in a massive, city-wide social science experiment, the purpose of which was to demonstrate through real life experience the pitfalls of totalitarian rule. The idea was the brainchild of NY City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, authorized by the State Legislature, and implemented by a prominent attorney who somehow ended up heading the city Department of Education. The purpose and nature of the experiment was not, of course, revealed to the participants, and was presented to the public simply as “educational reform”. But now that the project has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, those who created it are seeking to extend its duration for another few years.

In conception and execution the experiment was brilliant. Until now, schoolchildren were only able to learn about the horrors of totalitarianism second hand. While books like “1984” and films like “Bananas” can seem almost like real, they are no substitute for one’s own experience.

Through the genius of Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg, New Yorkers have now had the opportunity to see first hand what happens when contracts are given out without oversight (the Alvarez and Marsal school bus debacle, for one); when an elected official can fire a voting Board member at will to get his way (PEP vote on social promotion); when a duly enacted law is openly flaunted (CFE class size lawsuit; City Council law overturning cell phone ban); when schools are precipitously closed or forced to house charters regardless of the will of the community; and when a wealthy elected official uses his fortune to overturn the clear will of the voters on term limits and run for another term.

And they said it “couldn’t happen here”. But now that the point has been made, and that it is obvious to everyone that this has all been just an elaborate lesson in civics, we see no useful purpose in its continuation. It is the opinion of this space that despite their desire to carry on the experiment, the only way to truly cement the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein is to end Mayoral control of the schools, replace it with a more inclusive system, and thus drive home once and for all the contrasts between democracy and a banana republic.


Anonymous said...

Also not funny. At least you're consistent. And you managed to kick a serious post off the front page again. Mission Accomplished!

Gary Babad said...

To be attacked by an undercover DOE operative is high praise indeed. Thank you!