Friday, December 9, 2011
This reminds me somewhat of Mayor Bloomberg, another (figuratively) larger than life personality who boasted that he'd get NYC public schools to the top of the heap. The boasting is where the similarity ends, however. Rex Ryan has produced results, while Mayor4life has not. The most recent NAEP scores show that over the last ten years, under Bloomie's stewardship, schools have not improved at all.
Bloomberg is trying to salvage what's left of his credibility by claiming that at least NYC has done better than other urban areas in the state--what Sol Stern of the Daily News calls the "We're better than Buffalo" defense. Talk about lowering expectations. NYC was supposed to be transformed into an oasis of educational excellence under the steady guidance of mayoral control; instead, we are slightly better than Buffalo.
Which brings me back to Rex Ryan. If the Jets lose this season, I'm having a hard time picturing Ryan coming out and saying, "Sure, we missed the playoffs, but at least we beat the Buffalo Bills twice!" No, beating Buffalo is NOT what Rex Ryan was hired to do. He was hired to get the Jets to the Super Bowl. And beating Buffalo on the NAEP is not what Bloomberg was hired to do; he was hired to make NYC schools significantly better than when he took over. He has failed miserably. The only honorable thing for him to do would be to resign, but that will never happen.
A final contrast between Ryan and Bloomberg is accountability. When the Jets underperform, Ryan falls on the dagger for his team. He does this, as any good coach does, to take the heat off his players and allow them to focus on the game at hand. Bloomberg, in sharp contrast, not only doesn't take the dagger himself, he plunges it into the backs of his teachers and then twists.
I'm certainly glad that Bloomberg doesn't coach the Jets. On the other hand, we might want to give Rex Ryan a shot at running the schools. He may not know much about education, but he sure as hell knows that beating Buffalo isn't enough.