Education for Liberation!

Black Education for Black Liberation!

BNYEE OP-ED Statements

Defeating the Bloomberg-Klein

Mayoral Control Hype Machine

 

Mayoral control of New York City’s public schools is about to end... or be renewed. For the past seven years, Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg and his millionaire non-educator Chancellor have run roughshod over our tax dollars-paid-for public education system.

In the mad rush to privatize every aspect of a free public education system, Bloomberg has leveled a wide path of education devastation throughout the vast majority of our neighborhoods. But, because he is well connected within the corporate media world, all we see are rosy pictures and statistics of miraculous improvements in our failing schools. His millions of dollars have promoted a “Don’t believe your lying eyes” campaign to lull most of us into believing that mayoral dictatorship by way of schools-as-KFC-franchises, no parental involvement, high stakes testing and charter schools is best for giving our children a quality education that prepares them for the 21 Century and beyond.

Now, in the last days before the NY state legislators vote to either scrap or tweak mayoral control, the Bloomberg-Klein Hype Machine has spewed out a bunch of statistics that glorify the wonders of Bloomberg’s mayoral control. Under his watch/command, in just a few short years, it appears that the worst schools are now a mere insignificant dot on the DOE surface... and everything is above the norm: attendance, test scores, promotions and graduation rates.

But how exactly do you dramatically "boost/improve" test scores in a matter of two years?

(1)  You spend at least $118 million a year for the Testing Industry to dumb down the new tests--
(2)  You ramp up teaching-to-the-tests curriculum and pedagogy... as well as making sure that the battery of pre-tests are virtually the same as the final test--
(3)  You systematically weed out poor test takers as you get closer to the test date... and on the actual test date--
(4)  You give English Language Learner (ELL) students an infinite amount of time to take the tests--
(5)  You eradicate all social science, art and physical ed courses to give even more coaching time for the tests--
(6)  Then, you revamp CUNY admissions standards to obfuscate the education disaster this test-driven plan has spawned

The end result will be a big jump in test scores while our children's critical thinking skills, civics, cultural and world knowledge, at best, flatlines or tanks to such an extent that the NY Post and Rush Limbaugh are viewed by our children as profound as Toni Morrison's "Beloved" and Stephen Hawkings.

The NAEP Report (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard) is a truer indication of the myth of the Bloomberg-Klein “miracle.” The Report indicates that there has been little improvement in NYC’s 4th grades... and no improvement in NYC’s 8th grades. The NAEP is exams are much less dumbed down... and the scoring is not as “lenient” as either NY State’s or NY City’s scoring criteria.

Given the very short time left, we can defeat the Bloomberg-Klein Mayoral Control Machine by joining a massive calling, visiting, and picketing campaign of our local state legislatives and have them support the Education in Partnership Legislation:
Assembly bill #Ao8550-- http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A08550
and Senate bill #S05739-- http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=S05739

No matter the outcome, if we want to have a truly free and excellent public school system, we cannot wait on the sidelines and hope that the education activists can bring it to reality. A truly free and excellent public school system can only be realized by you and I being the “activists.”

That ancient African proverb: “It takes the whole village to raise a whole child” still rings true in 21st Century New York City.

And WE are that village- not a billionaire mayor.

Sam Anderson
Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence
New York Coalition for Neighborhood School Control



June 2009