For the past few days, he's been lashing out at the UFT over the court action.
Today he laced into the parents of students at the schools slated for closure for supporting those schools and the lawsuit and the comments are causing quite a bit of controversy:
Responding to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday seeking to prevent the city from closing 22 poor-performing schools, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made a comment that has sparked outrage among some community leaders.
Mr. Bloomberg, appearing on his weekly radio show, began by criticizing two plaintiffs in the suit — the teachers’ union and the N.A.A.C.P. — saying the groups “should know better” and that allowing the schools to remain open would be “unconscionable.”
But it was the way he referred to the parents who have continued to support these schools — which overwhelmingly serve poor, minority and immigrant students, including many who live in homeless shelters — that caused the anger.
“They never had a formal education, and they don’t understand the value of education,” Mr. Bloomberg said on the program, which is broadcast on WOR-AM (710).
He went on to observe: “The old Norman Rockwell family is gone.”
The Norman Rockwell family is gone.
The Alliance for Quality Education wasted no time in responding to the Mayor of Money and his comments:
Zakiyah Ansari, a parent organizer with the Alliance for Quality Education, an umbrella organization that is another plaintiff in the lawsuit, called the mayor’s comments “insulting.”
“How dare he say we don’t know what we’re talking about?” said Ms. Ansari, whose organization represents more than 200 parent, teacher and student groups. “How dare he assume that because we’re poor or black or Latino or homeless or all of the above, that we’re uneducated, that we don’t know what’s best for our kids?”
How dare he indeed.
The mayor, like so many other education reformers, has decided he has all the answers and what other people think or feel about his policies - even when these policies directly affect them - doesn't matter to him.
He's not the only "reformer" who thinks this way - so does Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan.
They have decided that they have ALL of the answers in the public education sphere and any time the public doesn't agree with them, it's because they're either too stupid, too naive or too ignorant to know what's good for them.
There is also an underlying tone of racism and classism here, a kind of white man's burden thing, that should not be ignored - Bloomberg's saying, in effect, "We're going to give these people what's good for them even though they don't know it and even worse (sigh!), they're fighting us on this."
Hey, Mr. Mayor, why don't you get off the UES and go talk to the parents yourself, sans Howard Wolfson and the rest of the jive artists you surround yourself with.
Ask them what these schools mean to them and why they are supporting them.
You might be surprised to learn it's about more than "data."
It's about connections, it's about community, it's about respect, it's about feeling like somebody in power is listening to you.
Stop insulting parents and teachers and start actually engaging them - you could learn an awful lot - and you might learn that there are real lives and real stories behind the "data" that has you convinced these schools need to be closed and replaced with charters that complicate matters so much more than you realize.