I’m more upset than a school kid whose dog ate his homework over what I think is Mayor Bloomberg’s covert plan to take parents out of education — an leave all decisions up to his expert know-nothings at the Tweed Courthouse and those mercenary-like leaders of charter schools.
And in my opinion, I think that our school system is now more corrupt than old Boss Tweed himself — you know, the guy who Boss Hogg from “The Dukes of Hazard” was based upon. But I digress.
Look, you all know that I have dedicated a darned good portion of my 75 years on this earth doing two things: eating, playing Santa Claus at Christmas parties, eating some more at those Christmas parties, and working to make our schools the best they can be the rest of the time.
I was involved with the old Community School District 21 for 30 years before the mayor kept his campaign promise and abolished the Board of Education! I served as a board member for 18 years, and was the sitting president of that board when Bloomy pulled the plug!
In my not-so-humble opinion, that’s when he began his covert operation — by creating powerless “Community Education Councils” to replace the boards that worked so well in so many neighborhoods for years.
And I know it, because I’m an insider! I sat on the new board (well, in a figurative sense) for two terms before I was term-limited out — unlike our mayor, who’s high-priced lawyers figured out a way to keep him in office.
Now, I know what your thinking: Carmine, clearly any problem you have with the mayor’s plan is just sour grapes.
To that I say: Ha!
Because you know something? This isn’t about me hiring my pals over at the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe to get yours truly back on the board. This is about last week’s so-called election of panel members, which I think was as crooked as, well, as the boys at that aforementioned law firm.
Look, I’m not going to bore you with the details, so I’ll get right down to the nitty gritty: the entire election should be invalidated an a new election called posthaste!
Why, you ask?
Because it appears to me that the Department of Education pulled out every trick in the book to make sure some favored candidates made it onto the board, and those it didn’t want got the boot.
That’s because election rules seemed to have been changing — unbeknownst to candidates — every step of the way!
And why did all this happen? Because the mayor thinks charter schools are the cure the education system that he made sick. And you know something else? They’re not! The mayor thinks that he knows better than the parents whose kids actually go to the schools, and you know another thing? He’s wrong about that, too!
You want proof! Find me a charter school that has a parents association or a PTA. Most of them don’t! That’s because just like the mayor, charter schools don’t want parents involved — except to attend public hearings, fight district parents for space in our school buildings, go to Albany and ask legislators for more money, and, as this “election” proves, get charter parents to infiltrate the local school councils themselves.
I think the charter school schemers will circumvent the law and takeover the councils by having charter parents whose kids were in a district school less than two years ago run for a seat, and then lobby the borough president to appoint more charter parents.
And I think all this conniving is sanctioned by the Big Cheese himself who, if I’m reading these tea leaves correctly, will eventually do away with the councils, too.
So I ask you, how can we trust the mayor’s Department of Education to teach our kids to read, write and do right, when it cannot run a fair election? Some role models for our kids, HA! All answers to questions about the election and its convoluted, manipulated runaway calendar now have to go through its legal team. I smell a rat!
Screech at you next week!