Saturday, April 11, 2009

Diane Ravitch's oped: a wake-up call for democracy?

Patrick already posted a link to Diane Ravitch's terrific oped in the NY Times, and described the way in which it convincingly disputes the Bloomberg administration's claims of having significantly improved student achievement.

Diane also eloquently points out how the autocracy that currently prevails in NYC under the name of mayoral control is contrary to our entire concept of democracy: mayor has exercised such unlimited power over the public schools as Mr. Bloomberg. Previous mayors respected the independence of the board members they appointed. The present version of the board, the Panel on Education Policy, serves at the pleasure of the mayor and rubber-stamps the policies and spending practices of the Department of Education, which is run by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

....Not every school problem can be solved by changes in governance. But to establish accountability, transparency and the legitimacy that comes with public participation, the Legislature should act promptly to restore public oversight of public education. As we all learned in civics class, checks and balances are vital to democracy.

Also see this further exploration of many of the themes in her piece in the Daily Kos.

How long before the elite in this city become aware of the abuses and lies inherent in this administration's dictatorial reign over our schools?
Let's hope that Diane's oped represents a much needed wake-up call.

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