Monday, January 18, 2010

Besmirching Dr. King

One of the reasons Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished so much was that he spoke right to the hearts of the American people and appealed to their hopes and aspirations. I can't remember a cynical word ever proceeding from his lips. That's why it is so disturbing that Mayor Bloomberg chose today of all days to invoke the name of King to help him push his slimy agenda of creating charter schools and making a grab for the RttT funds.

In describing a bill in the legislature that would take charters largely out of city hands, Bloomberg said, "Dr. King told us that a right delayed is a right denied and this bill would continue to deny those children the quality school options that they deserve. The bill is really an insult to parents and children and Dr. King and his legacy."

The only insult is that Bloomberg would think that he could co-opt Dr. King's heartfelt words and use them for his own political ends. Exactly whose rights would be delayed or denied under this bill? The "right" of Bloomberg's rich pals to open charter schools for fun and profit? The "right" of people like Eva Moskowitz to earn 400K a year off charter schools while siphoning off space and resources from public schools? The "right" of the mayor and chancellor to close down neighborhood schools that serve the most needy of our children so they can push their small school/charter school agenda down our throats?

Here are some real rights that Mayor Bloomberg has delayed and denied to New York City school children:

  • The right to a reasonable class size that gives them an opportunity to learn.
  • The right to benefit from the proceeds of the CFE lawsuit that was supposed to help level the playing field.
  • The right to attend an effective public school no matter what neighborhood they come from.
Instead, Bloomberg has increased class sizes, cut the school budget even as the CFE money came in, and closed or attempted to close neighborhood schools like Jamaica HS rather then work to improve them.

It's disgusting that the richest man in New York thinks he can invoke the legacy of one of history's greatest champions of the downtrodden for the sake of political expediency. As Dr. King also said, "A lie cannot live." If that is so, surely Bloomberg's own legacy will soon be on life support.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

If Mayor Bloomberg wanted to give kids quality schools, he'd give them to all the kids, regardless of whether or not they attended charters, and regardless of what neighborhood in which they lived.

It's sad how many people will hear him say that and not realize what really goes on here.