Monday, March 30, 2009

Low Flying Fruit

The NY Post's Dave Seifman comments on Mayor Mike's evanescence when it comes to the issue of tolls: "MAYOR BLOOMBERG adopted a low pro file in the high-stakes fight to rescue the MTA after being warned by transit advocates that his involvement could actually hurt their cause in Albany. "The politicians up there really hate the mayor," said one source. "It would be poison for him to inject himself." Yuh think?

Well, for us, this is the one reason why it might be fun to see Mike Bloomberg serve another four years-just so he can be Shelly Silver's pinata; not to mention the favorite target of some Senate Dems. But with a cash reserve of 15 billion dollars, we don't think that Miguelito will suffer all that much; although we can't wait to see the kind of poison pill that Shelly sticks into the renewal legislation on mayoral control of the schools.

Speaking of which, we had dinner the other night with some old friends-one of whom is teaching in the NYC schools as a second career. Listening to him, you wouldn't believe that the city's tabloids are occupying the real world; tales of watered down tests and funds being diverted for a testing regime designed to, well, put lipstick on a pig.

As one poster underscored on the Gothamschools website: "We do endless test prep. As much as principals might genuinely care about inspiring curiosity and giving the kids a well-rounded education, all that really matters are the scores. We didn't even get units for November and December in my school because the understanding was that we'd be doing hardcore test prep."

And, as the Public Advocate hopeful Bill De Blasio points out, it's money for testing all the time: "The Department of Education could foot the salaries of more than a thousand teachers with the money it spends measuring and promoting student performance, according to a report released today by City Council member Bill De Blasio." The DOE is hot wiring the data, and it will be left to the front group Learn NY to shuck and jive this charade forward in the upcoming debate over mayoral control.

We can't wait to see how the legislature treats this flim flamming. There's not enough disinfectant to clean this mess up-and the only thing missing here-as it is with the MTA debate-is the Wizard of Oz mayor being taken to the woodshed for his less than stellar-Pygmy like-school performance; doing less with more even while the flacks and toadies try to convince us otherwise.