Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bloomberg Like Nixon, Only He's His Own Bebe

Norm at Education Notes was over this story earlier in the week, the News has done a couple of articles on it, and Gotham Schools had a story as well, but between work stuff and parent-teacher conferences, I haven't been able to give the story that the DOE used parent coordinators to promote Bloomberg's political causes the attention it deserves.

First, here is the latest on the story from the Daily News:

The city Education Department has drafted school workers into political fights even before this week's controversial petition drive, union officials said Thursday.

In January and February, department officials asked parent coordinators to get parents who supported Mayor Bloomberg's policies to attend public meetings on closing low-performing schools.

"That is definitely, totally illegal," said DC 37 Local 372 acting President Santos Crespo, noting parent coordinators from all over the city were asked to participate in the turnout efforts.

A Manhattan parent coordinator said she was "dumbfounded" by the instructions for turning people out to public meetings.

"The model was 'We don't want to hear anything negative,'" she recalled.

Education Department spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said officials were within their rights.

"There is nothing wrong with encouraging parents to come out and participate in meetings that determine what happens to their children's schools," she said.

Ravitz again acknowledged that "DOE staff acted inappropriately in asking parent coordinators to circulate a petition" earlier this week that called for ending seniority protections for teachers.

Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew on Thursday asked the special schools investigator to determine who was responsible for the petition drive and how much the city spent on it.

The DOE violated the law by pushing this policy.

Who was behind the idea?

How far up the Bloomberg chain did it go?

What other political manipulations are the ypulling on the public dime?

Were any parent coordinators paid extra to aid in the cause?

Were any parent coordinators given Gates Foundation or hedge fundie largesse to aid in the cause?

Let's be honest here, the coordination of the education deform movement is pretty intricate.

Let's take the Asshats4Educators group.

They were supposed to be a "grassroots" movement of young teachers who were opposed to seniority protections, tenure and lots of other things that Bloomberg and Klein hate.

This group got lots of press at hedge fundie-funded Gotham Schools, got lots of press in the Murdoch papers, got lots of attention on the Murdoch-owned TV stations.

They DIDN'T get lots of scrutiny, however.

Mr. Talk at Accountable Talk was the first to notice that the Asshat4Educator website looked an awful lot like the DFER website.

A little scrutiny into the matter exposed the connection between the hedge fundie DFER's and the Asshats - they were funding the website and subsidizing the group.

Since then, the Asshats - who are still introduced as "educators" even though they no longer work as teachers - are enjoying not only Whitney Tilson-inspired hedge fund largesse but also lots of yummy, yummy Gates Foundation money.

No wonder Chancellor Klein met with the Asshats and hailed the group as "heroes" of the education world.

They're a manufactured grassroots movement, completely funded by corporate interests, who promote education policies those corporate interests want promoted in media outlets owned by those same corporate interests.

If you don't believe me, just read this NY Times story from back in February on the connection between the Asshats, the anti-seniority forces, the DFER's, the DOE, Bloomberg and the hedge fund managers.

They do a heckuva job on the coordination, don't they?

Now we get the story that the DOE was using parent coordinators to promote some of the same corporate-friendly policies that the Asshats are promoting.

I have no inside knowledge of any of this, but how much do you want to bet that some of the same money that has found its way to the Asshats4Educators found its way to any of the parent coordinators who have done the bidding of the Bloomberg administration and DOE on these political matters.

It's all very Nixonian, and while I am sure there are no tapes with John Dean saying there is a cancer on the presidency, I would say there is a cancer in the city that destroys the healthy body politic with bribes and corporate largesse and greed.

That cancer is located right down at City Hall Park in the two buildings off Broadway - City Hall and Tweed.

And what we need is a little scrutiny on the political operatives in those two buildings to see just how far the political manipulations have gone.

You can be sure that this use of parent coordinators to promote Bloomberg's political policies on the public dime is just the tip of the iceberg.

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