Bernie as Chancellor: Is a “Nice” Guy Chancellor Better than a “Nasty” Gal Chancellor? Fighting Over a Legacy as Schools and Kids Are Abandoned.

Some time latter this week, unless he unexpectedly finds his cojones, outgoing state commissioner of education David Steiner will find Dennis Walcott qualified and grant his waiver, the fourth consecutive chancellor who required a waiver from the commissioner.
 
Of course these days the chancellor has as much power as the leading character in Weekend at Bernie’s.
 
Geppetto pulls the strings from Gracie Mansion, and no one seems embarrassed.
 
Walcott joined Bloomberg on the mayor’s weekly radio show on Friday and said the education policy will be, “the same.” We’re going to be pushing hard on the reforms that we’ve already put in place and driving them down further,” Walcott said
 
More co-located charter schools, more school closings, more teacher and teacher union bashing, ignoring the test score debacle and the massive failures of NYC high school graduates at the City University.
 
The department will be run out of the communications office and the metric will be approval ratings. Walcott will race from Afro-American church to community meetings, from school to school, from elected official to elected official, unfortunately selling the same failed messages.
 
Bloomberg has one critical decision: do I punish my opponents by needlessly laying off teachers, or, do I avert layoffs and somehow avoid looking duplicitous?
 
Walcott is anxiously awaiting the message, after all, he’s only the messenger. He’s not in the room when policy is crafted.
 
While Black decided how to “dress down” for meetings so that she wouldn’t look too regal no one thought to figure out where to find kindergarten seats.  Eight thousand kids received no high school choice. The co-location wars escalated. Failing charter schools were multiplying. And, lest we forget, teachers have been without a contract for a year and a half and negotiations over the teacher evaluation plan have ground to a halt.
 
In Washington the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind is caught up in partisan and intra-party conflicts and seems relegated to the next term. In Albany the fight over the next commissioner is taking shape, do we simply anoint the young, inexperienced deputy, a la NYC, or seek a consensus building educational leader?  In the Apple we’re x-ing out the days on the calendar, unfortunately so is lame duck Bloomberg.
 
Bernie, I mean Dennis, will run from meeting to meeting, pacifying the masses, appearing calm, continue to make waffles for elementary school kids and teachers will worry about the upcoming state tests and the regents exams.
 
The policymakers at Tweed are trying to answer the pressing questions of the moment: does Dennis like his tea with lemon or milk, sugar or sweetener?
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4 responses to “Bernie as Chancellor: Is a “Nice” Guy Chancellor Better than a “Nasty” Gal Chancellor? Fighting Over a Legacy as Schools and Kids Are Abandoned.

  1. IT STILL AMAZES ME THAT THE MAYOR CANNOT FIND AN OUTSTANDING,CREDENTIALED EDUCATOR TO BECOME THE CHANCELLOR. OR WOULD THAT STAND IN THE WAY OF THE MAYOR’S POLITICAL AGENDA? IF THE MAYOR’S THINKING IS FOLLOWED, WE COULD HAVE A CHILD WHO ONCE ASSEMBLED A BRIDGE WITH AN ERRECTOR SET BECOME THE COMMISSIONER TO EVALUATE THE INTEGRITY OF THE BRIDGES IN NYC. OR, PERHAPS, JACK WELCH, BETTER KNOWN AS CHAINSAW JACK, COULD HEAD HEALTH AND HOSPITALS. ILL PATIENTS ARE A LIABILITY. LETTING THEM DIE IS MORE COST EFFECTIVE. A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL MIGHT BE TOO DEVOTED TO TREAT THE PATIENT WHICH WOULD BE COSTLY. THE WAY I SEE MAYOR BLOOMBERG’S THINKING, THE NEXT TIME HE NEEDS A COLONOSCOPY, WHY CHOOSE A CERTIFIED PHYSICIAN. THE TECH PEOPLE WHO MANUFACTURE THE COLONOSCPOPES AT OLYMPUS CAMERA ARE QUITE CAPABLE TO USE THESE INSTRUMENTS. WHO NEEDS A DOCTOR? IS IT NOT AN INDICTMENT OF THE MAYOR’S ABILITY THAT HE CANNOT FIND EVEN ONE QUALIFIED MANAGER FROM THE PROFESSIONAL RANKS OF EDUCATORS?

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  2. We all write. We offer really good advice. We advocate what is best for the kids and the schools. We have been doing this for years because whatever the “leaders” are doing obviously is not working. But from Congress in DC to the state and local level it seems hopeless. Like the movie ‘The Body Snatchers”, our body politic has been taken over by the purse snatchers. Money/profit at all cost – they no longer care about the cultural environment, the educational environment, the natural environment, the family environment, the intellectual environment. Those in charge no longer see themselves as the guardians of out great democracy, but rather as enablers of the ‘corporate ruling class’. My question: following their agenda, exactly how do they envision out future?

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    • Annette Bellacosa

      I couldn’t agree with you more. We are not a democracy, but a “corporatocracy”. This does not bode well for the future of our country.

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  3. I keep asking this over and over – we know the mayor’s policies are not working. It’s now been written about in various forums – the evidence is in – there was no NYC miracle. So why do we continue to give complete control of the school system to the mayor. This is the fault of the politicians and the UFT that pushed for mayoral control. When is anyone going to get around to fixing the law and putting a democratic process back in place for making school decisions?

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