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A Mayoral Legacy

Prior to 9/11 Giuliani’s administration was characterized by dramatic decreases in crime rates and sharp increases in racial tensions; he was a controversial Mayor leaving behind a polarized city. The events of 9/11 changed the world perception of Giuliani; he will forever be associated with that momentous event. Nixon and Watergate are synonymous; Clinton and a sex scandal frame his presidency.

Elected officials do everything possible to create their own place in history, oftentimes it is done to them. John Lindsay was a shining light among mayors. Cities across the nation were burning and Lindsay managed to keep the cap on New York. In the turbulent late sixties, amidst anti-war demonstrations and increasingly militant public employee unions New York seemed the exception and Lindsay’s future beyond New York seemed bright. A two month teachers strike and a failed reform of the education system framed the Lindsay heritage. When he attempted to gain the Republican presidential nomination in 1972 he was plagued by teachers, their friends and supporters. All of Lindsay’s achievements, and they were many, are forgotten, he is the Mayor who failed to avoid a brutal strike and who created a decentralized school system that was rife with corruption and incompetence.

It will take years to determine whether the Bloomberg structural changes to the system result in positive outcomes. The Bloomberg administration has mastered the art of controlling the flow of educational data. School Report Card information is more than a year old, any request for data is rebuffed and Freedom of Information requests, that take many months, are the norm. The NY Post and the NY Daily News turn Bloomberg press releases into news stories and Newsday is downsizing and not covering the Ed beat on a regular basis. The NY Times is the only source of information to the public. Electronic media has been reduced to ten second sound bites, with an occasional story on NY 1.

Bloomberg’s failure to negotiate a contract and his “top down” management approach has alienated teachers. “Kleinberg” has become a curse word. For the first time in thirty years the city is moving toward a teachers strike. How will history frame the Bloomberg era? In spite of his attempts to manage the news, to manage data and to manage outcomes history has a way creating its own outcomes. Will the mere mention of the name “Bloomberg” be reviled? Will Bloomberg learn from the disastrous miscalculations of Lindsay, or, are we fated to relive the errors of the past?

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10 Comments:

  • 1 NYC Educator
    · Sep 27, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t know what you’ve been reading, but it’s my understanding that the only impediment to a contract is how we spend the ten minutes. The contract, according to the ICE UFT blog, is already settled.

    Under the new “Roadmap to a Sixth Teaching Period,” we get:

    10 minutes a day
    3 extra days
    no sick day for work in August
    lunchroom duty
    bathroom patrol
    an extra 30 minute class
    merit pay

    and a crappy raise that barely, if at all, keeps up with cost of living.

    Vote NO!

  • 2 NYC Educator
    · Sep 27, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    And the NY Times, FYI, endorsed this abomination of a contract.

  • 3 realitybasededucator
    · Sep 27, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    Let’s forget the mayor’s legacy and talk about Randi Weingarten’s legacy as UFT preznit.

    What kind of legacy does a union leader who concedes 20 years worth of contract provisions for a mere 11.4% leave behind her after she’s gone?

    What kind of legacy does a union leader who gets eaten alive in every contract negotiation she has ever engaged in leave behind her after she’s gone?

    What kind of legacy does a union leader who gets to concede another 20 years of contract provisions in the next negotations come 2006 leave behind her after she’s gone?

    Randi Weingarten’s true legacy will be to leave the smoldering ruins of her once powerful teachers union behind her. She will exit her presidency and start her run for mayor after turning the clock back for teachers to 1950. Randi will have concded time, days, Circular 6, seniority and grievance rights, and a sixth class to the city in one contract! And in the next one, right around the corner in 2006, Randi will finish the job by conceding merit pay, more time, more days, and tenure.

    Congratulations, Randi. What took 40 years to build, you destroyed in just a couple of years.

    Stand down, Randi, before it’s too late.

    Do what’s right for your membership and resign. Let somebody who’s competent and effective head the United Federation of Teachers at this crucial moment when the union is in a fight for its life.

    Stand down, Randi. Stand down. And take your patronage hacks with you wherever you go.

    Before it’s too late and the union is completely destroyed.

  • 4 jesse
    · Sep 27, 2005 at 9:07 pm

    Did I miss the news? Do we have a contract to vote on? Or is it the PERB report still? I’m not sure it’s healthy to grab on to every peice of information as though you know exactly what the contract will be.

  • 5 Educat
    · Sep 27, 2005 at 9:46 pm

    hows this for a gloomberg legacy? : nyc teachers reject his pittance of an offer, years pass without a contract. teacher morale sinks to an all time low, as a result, productivity (i.e. test scores)plummets,and teacher attrition skyrockets. this could be gloombergs nightmare.i think we are in a much stronger position than most believe.

  • 6 mvplab
    · Sep 28, 2005 at 12:12 am

    How’s this for a scenario: We tell Kleinberg to take a hike! Kleinberg stays and says he wants an 8 page contract!Morale sinks to an all time low!Another bulletin board memo is issued that forces everyone to use green paper, the color of money! That’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and UFTers finally hit the bricks! Schools close for 3 months while we chant: “Two for one and one for all!”

    I’m ready! I can borrow from my TDA!

  • 7 mets6986
    · Sep 28, 2005 at 12:05 pm

    We must work in different universes – the teachers I work with come in before Labor Day to set up their classrooms, frequently stay after school and see an 11% raise as pretty good considering the environment – although no one wants to the extra unpaid coverages (or any coverages). No one wants to go on strike … and to continue w/o a contract will probably result in Kleinberg unilaterally abrogating sections of the current contract … I wonder whether you guys are as nasty and angry in dealing with your students?

  • 8 shouldhavegonetomeds
    · Sep 28, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    Continuing with the current contract does not abbrogate it. It continues indefinitely under The Triborough Law. I know it is hard but try to stay informed.

  • 9 NYC Educator
    · Sep 28, 2005 at 10:15 pm

    “I wonder whether you guys are as nasty and angry in dealing with your students?”

    That’s a very cheap shot. It’s totally uncalled for and you have no basis for it whatsoever. You have never seen me write one negative word about a kid. I have great patience for kids.

    Anyone who would treat kids in a nasty angry fashion has no business teaching them.

    Klein, of course, would eagerly hire such individuals, express great shock at their performance, then vilify the UFT and its contract as the source of all consequent discord.

  • 10 Educat
    · Sep 29, 2005 at 8:20 pm

    to mets6986 :
    i can see how you are a mets fan. just lay down and get rolled over.