Friday, October 15, 2010

Bloomberg Crying Wolf

Our friend Andy Wolf has a devastating take down of the Kleinberg effort to lead any kind of national  educational reform campaign-not, he says, when you've failed in NYC: "It's time for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Chancellor, Joel Klein to stop their pious lecturing to the rest of the nation promoting their vision of how to fix America's schools. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post, perhaps America's most perceptive observer of the education scene, puts it this way: "After 8 years as the czar of New York City's public schools, Klein might want to stop blaming other people for his failures."

Wolf goes on to award the undynamic duo what is essentially the Pulitzer Prize for fiction: "On Monday, the New York Times devoted considerable space -- beginning on the front page -- to a discussion of New York State's unprecedented re-calculation of their standardized test scores. The state's admission that test scores were wildly inflated over the past few years has definitively proven that the "miracle" that Klein and Bloomberg are disgracefully still taking credit for, is fiction. In reality it may be even worse, a deliberate fraud perpetrated on voters."

Fraud it is, and we are transported into an exquisite time warp where, once again, "what did you know, and when did you know it," becomes a relevant catch phrase: "While the responsibility for the tests lie squarely with the State Education Department, city "educrats" were well aware that there was a problem. But that didn't temper their zeal to use the tainted statistics to aggrandize their boss before the election last year. Just last month, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the deputy chancellor for performance and accountability for the city's Department of Education conceded at a meeting with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Dr. Betty Rosa, who represents the borough on the state Board of Regents, that the city was aware of the problems with the test results even prior to last year's mayoral election."

And, as Wolf reminds us, many people pulled the Bloomberg lever in 2009 assuming-based on tens of millions of dollars of disinformation-that Mike Bloomberg had elevated city schools right out of the dung heap: "The Times noted that 57 percent of voters who made education their top priority last year voted to re-elect the mayor, who won by just 5 points. Had just 2.5 percent known the truth and switched sides, the outcome of the election might have been very different. We can't re-run the election, but the least we should expect from the Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein is to have the decency to stop spreading the fiction of a "New York Miracle" that simply never happened."

One thing's for sure. If Frank Sinatra was still around, he'd have to rework his time honored, "New York, New York," lyrics along the lines of, "if you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere." Not even spending $109 million on defrauding the voters can sanitize the stench of the NYC educational scam.