2013-08-23 / Columnists

School Scope

Political Tidbits
By Norm Scott

School Scope began as a column about education. Since Sandy, it has morphed into a mish-mosh. Today I have politics on my mind.

Erich Ulrich in The Wave: “Where have all the hospitals gone?” Did he ask Michael Bloomberg, who he has supported? Fran Lebowitz answered Ulrich’s question: “He thinks of himself as the public health mayor. How many hospitals closed under Bloomberg? Hospitals: that’s public health. Smoking, soda, salt? That’s private health.” Peninsula’s closing was related to free market health scams and St. John’s is in trouble (sorry, next time I fall off a bike and break something I’m going to Maimonides). Ulrich mentions a plan by surging mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio (my leading candidate because Liu or Albanese can’t win – I’ll elaborate next time) calling for the State to use $10 billion in Medicaid savings to modernize hospitals. “Is this the solution,” Ulrich asks? “Maybe not,” he says while applauding de Blasio for suggesting it. Nice way to take a stand. Is Ulrich reluctant to hold government responsible for providing such a basic public service as health care, the usual Republican “let the free market determine?”

If Rockaway doesn’t have a hospital it must be our fault because there are not enough rich people to pay for it. What is Ulrich’s plan? Would he support raising taxes on millionaires so Rockaway could have decent health services? Government should be as responsible for health care as it is for fire, police and schooling (fast fading under Bloomberg’s privatization scheme).

Bill Thompson told The Wave how much he cares about Rockaway. He will “explore” reactivation of the Rockaway Beach LIRR line. Translation: study the issue, and then toss in to the circular file. Speaking of Thompson and hospitals, reporter Wayne Barrett exposed ties between Thompson and another millionaire scam artist whose actions have led to the threatened closing of Interfaith Hospital in Bed-Stuy, Thompson’s own neighborhood. Blogger Reality-Based Educator, a NYC teacher told the story in this headline: “Bill Thompson - Political Hack And Walking Conflict Of Interest.” (http://perdidostreetschool.blogspot.com/2013/07/bill-thompson-political-...).

Anthony Weiner, on a visit to The Wave said, “Why do you believe [personal behavior is] relevant to the job of mayor?” Let me get this straight. You engage in risky, insane, irresponsible behavior that blows up your career and harms your family and others in incalculable ways, and you want us to trust you with the lives of 8 million people? I couldn’t care if it was your sexting or the awful way you treat people who work for you or your arrogance. No thanks. But I will say that I like Weiner’s ideas on Rockaway transportation (Weiner has a proven record of having good ideas that he could not execute.) I agree – give up the mythic battle to restore the LIRR line but instead fight to improve what we have - an extra express track and express A trains. (Get rid of the shuttle - Why not an A leaving and returning to Beach 116th St every hour?)

Scott Stringer for Comptroller over Spitzer. Ok, so he couldn’t manage to run a bar 20 years ago but he wants to manage our money. But for an education issue nut like me there are two factors that will make me vote for him. As Manhattan Borough president he appointed Patrick Sullivan, the major voice opposing Bloomberg ed policies, to the school board (Panel for Educational Policy). That would be deemed sufficient for me. But he also defeated evil Eva Moskowitz eight years ago. She might be running for mayor now instead of opening up charter schools while trying to destroy neighborhood schools. But the thought of having her run the city is even scarier – I’d vote for Weiner over her. Besides, if Eliot Spitzer wins, how much pension money will be invested in houses of ill repute? Well, if that would earn 8 percent....

Leticia James for Public Advocate: Not many people know of her and her chances of winning are not great but I’ve admired her for some time for her stands on charter schools invading public schools and other issues. See her dynamic speech at the December, 2012 Panel for Educational Policy meeting (www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tURc0tB GXw) where she says, “This is nothing more than an attempt to beat the clock to the end of this administration to privatize public schools and bust unions.” If you are involved in education in any way, as teacher or parent or activist or concerned citizen, Tish James is the way to go. (Besides, chief opponent Daniel Squadron is being shilled by the increasingly sleazy Chuck Schumer. ‘Nuff said.)

I almost forgot about SCHOOL STUFF. By now you heard about the disastrous drop in test scores which puts the Bloomberg ed deform back to ground zero as the achievement gap between white/Asian and Black/Latino kids is where it started when Bloomberg became education dictator 12 years ago. Parents will be able to find out the exact scores this week and the fur will fly. It’s all due to the Common Core (or bore) which aims to have every child in the nation doing exactly the same thing at the same time (just joking – sort of). With all the test prep and so many kids vomiting on the tests, we expect the parent opt-out of the test movement (you can opt out you know) to grow this year. If interested, contact changethestakes@gmail.com. The next meeting is Aug. 28, 5:30 at CUNY (34th St and 5th Ave – bring id).

Sweetest words of the week: Poll: 2/3 of NY’ers Say Schools Same or Worse under Bloomberg.

Norm blogs at www.ednotesonline.com.

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