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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Powers That Be: A Lesson for the Children of NYC

I drafted this a week ago and had hoped I'd never have to post it; unfortunately, reality got the better of hope and David Steiner caved cravenly to a billionaire and his power. A nice set-up, though for my little fable, as follows:

The Powers That Be decided they wanted more terms in office despite the people's previous votes in favor of term limits, and they took what they wanted and laughed and said, "So what are you going to do about it?"

The Powers That Be created a separate oversight board to give an appearance of independent oversight and review and then filled almost entirely with their own never-dissenting members, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be said education wasn’t real unless it could be tested and measured, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be decided that teachers were the problem with education and that the answer was privatization and union-busting, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be organized and reorganized and re-reorganized the school system into total chaos, all the while distancing themselves further and further from the unwanted voices of public school parents, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be closed schools and moved children around like warehoused inventory and pitted parents and neighbors against one another, all on behalf of charter schools, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be created a data collection system that they only controlled and added to it a massive public relations staff so that all education data could be manipulated and selectively reported and spun to hide their lack of positive educational results, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be decided they could still tap the “education marketplace” for more money and formed an alliance with the most hateful publisher/broadcaster in America, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be went behind closed doors and selected one of the least qualified members of their club to run the school system, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be saw that a few individuals wanted to open the selection process for public input and comment and they got their batteries of lawyers to validate each other’s actions and quickly squashed that effort, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be saw that a tiny sliver of the public was roused from its sleep, so they circled their wagons in support of their chosen candidate and went on television and got their celebrities to be quoted in the newspapers and said you don’t really need to know anything about education to run a school system, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

The Powers That Be formed a commission among their past membership to create the appearance of an independent decision about the future of over a million children and then went behind closed doors to find a compromise that would mollify the public outcry without otherwise changing a thing, and they laughed and said, “So what are you going to do about it?”

And the people of New York stirred briefly on their couches, tossed down a couple more potato chips, and thumbed their channel changers so they could watch “The Biggest Loser” without the slightest sense of irony, and they laughed and said, “What time does ‘Dancing with the Stars’ start?”

The Powers That Be got their wish, since they had controlled all the strings that mattered all along, and they knew that no matter how outrageously they abused their power, all would still be well with their world, and they laughed and said, “So what’s next? Not that the people will be able to do a damned thing about it.”


Anonymous said...

We The Teachers, the Children, the Parents, the Communities involved in teaching and learning, demand immediate and decisive action by Michael Mulgrew and the United Federation of Teachers. No more politics, no more posturing, no more BS.

Shit, or get off the pot.

Queens Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Queens Teacher said...

One of the best posts I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Great post Leonie... I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling so discouraged by all of this. How did things get this far out of control where the only people who have any say are the filthy rich?

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

“So what are you going to do about it?”

Now there will be five questions at the Passover sedar.

Anonymous said...

I feel sick to my stomach and it's not from eating too much turkey.

Subrex said...

There is a lot we can do about it.

I am watching Eyewitness News as I write this and I just saw Charles Barron say that " The fight has just begun".

He is right!

While it is true that many New Yorkers are still in their slumber, there are also many who have been awakened to the corruption taking place in the DOE.

Bloomberg, Black, Canada, Broad and Moskowitz are insulated from the true wrath of the people. There are others who have sided with them who are not as fortunate.

Steiner and Quinn are not a part of the power elite and they will bear the brunt of this backlash.

I would be remiss in not mentioning the following. Mulgrew, the sycophantic lowlife, has just endorsed Black and her education lackey.

Add Mulgrew to the list of the non-cocktail crowd who will have hell to pay because of this.



A Poem Mr. Poetry Expert Steiner Apparently Has Forgotten is Edwin Markham's "The Man With The Hoe"

Maybe- just maybe, a sufficient number of parents, Educators, Concerned Citizens and Politicians will realize this Black-Gate affair is the final acid test to see how many people are ready to "walk the walk".

"A Teacher in The Bronx" got it right, indeed:

"So what are you going to do about it?".

We are at a true turning point today in which every citizen in NYC must make a decision, and get informed and get involved.

As I stood in front of Commissioner Steiner's residence a few days ago as 12,000 signatures were delivered to his building, I could not help asking myself:

"Where is everyboby- where are all the parents, the teachers, the people who claim they care about about saving the legacy and concept of free, public education in America".

The members of the press and media almost outnumbered the people delivering the signatures protesting the giving of a waiver to an individual who will admit she sat on the Board of a Multi-National Corporation that condones murder of Union activists, with a straight face and not the least trace of embarrassment.

I kept thinking over and over as I stood with that tiny group of people in the late afternoon, on the Upper East Side:

"We should have had 5,000 people here. But this turnout will send Steiner exactly the message the Mayor wants Steiner to get, - that no one cares, that the people making all that stir about the waiver and Black-Gate are just a small renegade band of rabble rousers- probably consisting of 'commies' and anarchists to boot".

Someone commented that Charles Barron, bless his Soul, plans to pick up the Standard that the UFT tossed in the garbage can, years and years ago.

Let's hope he can awaken all those lost in slumber and frozen in time, to understand what is at stake here.

If education in America is privatized and run by faceless corporations who see not children but numbers, not lunch lines but bottom lines- then the very foundations of our democratic Republic are at risk.

The hour is late. But despite this latest news that an obscene development has come to pass in the form of Black-Gate, nevertheless, there may yet be reason to hope if courageous individuals like Charles Barron and others of like mind step forward.

We need to see several thousand people assemble in front of that edifice to corruption- The Tweed Courthouse, week after week making it clear as Mr. Barron has said:

"The fight has just begun".

And oh yes- that Edwin Markham poem, "The Man With the Hoe" ends with some very powerful words regarding the fact that there is a limit as to just how far human beings can be pushed- before they start to push back.

I am behind Charles Barron. Will another ten thousand or twenty thousand New Yorkers also step up to the plate.


Anonymous said...

AS Bloomberg is gearing up for a run at the Presidency why not look to those who may oppose his run as an independent. Those with the true knowledge and facts about how education has been hijacked in NYC could provide valuable information to use against his candidacy. Regardless of affilitation or preference join forces with those who can defeat this corrupt and anti-democratic manipulator. His money will go only so far as the truth if it finds its way into the national public ear will be his undoing. You need the media to defeat the media mogul. By the way, any truth to Bloomberg looking to take over ABC news?

Anonymous said...

Leonie, I'm counting on you and the gang, Sullivan, Koss, et al to come to the rescue! Don't give up on us. This was all done over the Thanksgiving weekend so that everyone would be caught unaware. It had all been decided even as we celebrated Cathie Black's waiver denial. That's why Black didn't withdraw her name. Now we need to look to the legislature, or a legal battle to stop the little Emperor. Bloomberg will never be president and if we make enough noise here in NYC and tarnish his reputation enough, his political career will be over. Don't give up the fight.