Bloomberg and Klein always had one goal in mind when it came to public schools - blow the old system up so that it could never be replicated.
That's why in the early days of their reign, Klein and Bloomberg reorganized the NYCDOE four times - exploding the old districts into regions and then cohorts and consortia and now whatever the hell they're calling things.
On one level, they were trying to figure out what they thought would work better than the old BOE structures. But on another level, they just wanted to destroy the structure of the old system so that whoever came after them could not pick up the pieces and put it back together again.
This is why they have closed so many schools as well, especially the large zoned schools.
Those schools were the center pieces of the old system, so if you want to blow up the old system completely you have to go after those schools.
Since 2002, Bloomberg and his various chancellors have closed most of those large zoned schools and replaced them with either smaller schools or charter schools.
But the pace of destruction has not been fast enough for Bloomberg as he realizes his Reign of Error is coming to an end. In addition, the Cathie Black debacle took him and the DOE off track for a few months, further requiring an acceleration of their creative destruction plans.
This is why Bloomberg is putting the pedal to the metal this year on school closures - closing a total of 49 schools - and school openings - opening a total of 80 next year.
If Bloomberg gets his way on the 23 SIG schools and closes them this summer, he will have closed 140 schools since he took office.
Bill Thompson said at an education forum yesterday that he has heard rumors from people in the DOE and from politicians in the legislature that Bloomberg plans on closing 75 schools next year.
Bloomberg has already told us in his State if the City address in January that he plans on opening many new charter schools and small schools before he leaves office, wanting to have over 1800 schools in the system by 2013.
Since he took office, he has opened 589 schools (though some of those new Bloomberg schools have later been closed for "failing".)
To what end is all of this destruction and creation?
Bloomberg says it is to give city voters school choice.
But underlying all of this is the same philosophy Bloomberg brought when he came into office and gave the keys to the system to Joel Klein - destroying what came before so that it can never be put back together again.
Profit for Bloomberg's cronies in the technology, education, and testing worlds is another motive, of course.
Reformers fear there will be rollback when the next mayor comes into office, no matter who it is, because that mayor will not have the same animosity for the old system and hostility toward teachers and the UFT that this mayor has.
This was why they were so angry over the Black chancellorship - that debacle took precious time away from Bloomberg's destruction of the school system and put him on the defensive rather than the offensive on education matters.
This was also why I had hoped Black would stick around for a while longer.
But Black is gone and Bloomberg has his puppet Walcott to do his dirty work and the next year and a half is going to be a particularly destructive time for students, teachers and schools.
When we get to 2014 and the end of Bloomberg's Reign of Error, we will just have to see what is left standing, pick up the pieces of what has been broken and try and make this system human.
Because currently it is a corporatist's wet dream - a top-down managed, fear-based, data-driven system beset by chaos and destruction.
Bloomberg and Walcott can put a happy face on it all they want.
The corporate news media can mislead the public into thinking Bloomberg's reforms have worked all they want to.
The reality is, Bloomberg's legacy has been nothing more than the chaos and destruction he brought to the system.
He used to tout test score gains.
Those disappeared when the state admitted the tests were too easy.
He used to claim he had closed the achievement gap.
That claim disappeared along with the test score gains.
He claims graduation rates have soared since he took office, but the number of NYC grads needing remediation when they get to college suggests graduation rates are phonied up as much as the testing data was.
Really, his only accomplishment under mayoral control has been blowing up the old system, replacing it with the constant churn of chaos and destruction and enriching his cronies in the testing, charter school, and media worlds with all that yummy yummy education money in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in no bid contracts.
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