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Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Board of Ed: The Inside Story

July 2, 2009 (GBN News): A seemingly unsuccessful attempt at a Soviet takeover of the NY City schools was just a decoy, GBN News has learned. At the moment that three elderly Communists conspicuously entered Tweed Courthouse just as Mayoral control was expiring, Mayor Bloomberg was secretly meeting with another shadowy Bolshevik group, plotting a takeover of the newly reconstituted Board of Education. The following account was pieced together through interviews with multiple sources, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of repercussions:

It was a marriage of convenience between a group bent on re-establishing Soviet power and a Mayor desperate to hold onto control of the schools. However, the Mayor and the Soviet group soon realized they had much in common. In fact, it seemed at times as if the only major difference between them was that the Soviets insisted on referring to the Board of Education as the “Politburo”.

The two camps quickly agreed it was vital to insure that the Borough Presidents appoint Board members who would support to the death the Mayor’s policies. Through control of the Board, Mr. Bloomberg could maintain and even expand his control of the schools.

The Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens Borough Presidents were known to be in lockstep with the Mayor over school control and were not felt to pose a problem. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, however, was another story. Stringer’s appointee for the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), Patrick Sullivan, had been a thorn in the side of the DOE since his appointment. It was feared that if Stringer appointed Sullivan to the new Board, he would learn of the Bloomberg/Soviet plot and expose it.

It is unclear just how the conspirators were able to “turn” Stringer, but they were obviously successful; Sullivan was dropped in favor of Stringer staffer Jimmy Yan. J. Fredrick Runson, chair of Political Science Department at Manhattan University and an expert on Soviet methods, suggested one possible explanation. “For someone who’s usually so independent on education issues,” Dr. Runson told GBN News, “Stringer’s talk of needing Board members who are ‘philosophically in tune with the Mayor’, and of ‘maintaining the system’, was so uncharacteristic as to border on the bizarre. In my professional opinion, somebody slipped him some LSD.”

With time being so short, the Mayor and the Soviets were willing, for the moment, to declare Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz a “lost cause”, and keep him out of the loop. But to counter the consequent loss of Board unanimity, they needed a Board President who could control the agenda and stifle all dissent.

All agreed that Dennis Walcott, who had already squandered a stellar reputation by serving as Deputy Mayor for education, was perfect for the job. But the Borough President who appointed him would face conflict of interest criticism by naming a member of the Administration to the position, and such an appointment could even be a career breaker. However, Queens BP Helen Marshall sold out for dinner and an extra term, and within hours, the Mayor’s control of the school Board was etched in stone.

While Mayor Bloomberg seems to have insured continued control of the schools, still unclear is just what the Soviets have to gain from this arrangement. Some political observers feel that the cash-starved Soviets are planning to use Mr. Bloomberg’s billions to advance their cause, and ultimately to overthrow him. As Dr. Runson put it, “This could be a perfect example of the old communist adage, ‘The capitalists will sell you the rope that you'll use to hang them.’” On the other hand, he said, “Educational reform makes strange bedfellows. There could be a genuine ideological agreement here.”

2 comments:

Nicola DeMarco said...

Very interesting!
But, consider this:

Legally Questionable Meeting on July 1, 2009 at 52 Chambers Street, New York

1. Who called the first “Board of Education” meeting on July 1, 2009?

2. Under what legal authority was it called?

3. Since the Board of Education was originally created by the 1969 New York State law on school decentralization, and no similar state law was enacted on July 1, 2009, under what legal authority was a “Board of Education” created on July 1, 2009?

4. Where are the minutes of the meeting? How can the public obtain a copy of them?

5. Was the meeting open to the public? Where was the meeting announced, if at all?

6. Did the announcement (if any) contain specific details as to the time, address, room number and date of the meeting? Did that announcement contain a phone number, address and/or email for the public to contact for details?

7. Are all the members chosen to serve on the “Board of Education” residents of New York City?

8. A Deputy Mayor serving as President of the Board of Education is a conflict of interest, violates the separation of powers since the Board of Education is no longer part of the executive/mayoral branch. Never before has a Deputy Mayor served on the Board of Education. Can Dennis Walcott, Ed Skyler and Patricia Harris serve?

9. If the Mayor is angry that the State Senate is not meeting to vote, why isn't he angry that this bogus "Board of Education" is not meeting or doing any work until September 10, after school opens and only met on July 1, 2009 for less than an hour? With over 1.1 million children depending on them, that is gross negligence.

11. Although the vast majority of children in our schools are Black and Latino, only 2 of the seven members of the bogus “Board of Education” are Black or Latino. How does this represent the needs of the students?

12. How is this entity authorized to pay even for the lights to be turned on at 52 Chambers Street considering this "Board of Education" have no statutory authorization from either the New York State Legislature or the New York City Council. Are they all volunteers? Even the borough appointees? Regardless of salaries and benefits, someone has to pay the rent, utilities and water bill with our tax dollars and the legislature must authorize any and all expenditures of tax dollars by the government.

13. When Joel Klein was anointed Chancellor by the “Board of Education,” was the position posted for all people interested to apply? Was any interview conducted or credentials submitted by Joel Klein? Was any type of waiver made to qualify Joel Klein since he is not an educator but a lawyer instead?

14. What are the bylaws of this “Board of Education?” If they exist, how can the public see them and obtain a copy?

15. What is this teaching our children about democracy?

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