Thursday, November 11

Nine Out Of Ten People With Impressive-Sounding Titles Agree: Hire The Person With An Impressive-Sounding Title!

Room for Debate: "Who's Qualified to Run New York City Schools?" November 10

Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.

-Mary McCrory

SO which is worse: Wholesale Mayor Mike Bloomberg naming his second Utterly Devoid of Relevant Experience Except in the Area of Employee Termination Chancellor, or Exalted High Architect, or something of NYC Schools, or the Times holding a "debate" on the topic in which the entree seems to be "Well-off enough to be considered for a Bloomberg appointment"?

And don't get me wrong; I'm from Indianapolis, where our school superintendent is an Ed Ph.D and a waste of good cufflinks. I'd just like to know how we came to be the sort of society where Former Publisher of USA Today is considered a mark of success. Or, rather, a mark of success at anything other than plumbing the depths of a Barnumesque culture, looking for nickels. Simultaneously complaining about reading scores and promoting the former perpetrator of Parti-colored Literacy Downsizing does not make sense in this, or even in the multi-billionaire's, universe.

You will find, though, if you click that link over my express warnings, that the Times could find only one person with an appropriate title who outright objected to Cathleen Black's appointment, and that, again, based on the Business Model of Everything: promoting from outside will damage morale!

Everyone else is at least marginally on board, which, y'know, you might figure they'd be since they have no stake in the game. Who's gonna start right in hurling rocks at Cathleen Black, without even a few warm-up tosses? No respectable commentator, certainly. So why have the fucking conversation at all? (To be fair, a couple other commenters point out that the twenty-year history of these sorts of Reaganist shenanigans is, well, a mixed bag at best, and Clara Hemphill, while giving the notion of a non-educator running education--as well as the lying sneak thief she's replacing--a free pass, does ask whether Bloomberg would appoint a publishing executive to run the Health Department. But this is not a side issue to be solved with an epistemological shrug. It's the main fucking issue, and maybe it's what you ought to be debating.)

The guy from Clown College The Cato Institute Clown College is in full midseason form:
This drives educators nuts, but cheers people who think educators have proven themselves incapable of fixing schools. There’s certainly reason for concern: K-12 education hasn’t gotten much better for decades despite huge funding increases. For most of that time, educators have run the show.

Now, one, as we've noted here, and Bob Somerby--who knows more about the topic that that entire Times panel put together--has documented repeatedly, the fact is that minority student test scores have improved dramatically over the past fifteen years, which have also been marked by something other than "huge funding increases". You'd think that maybe, with an entire Institute College busy with the tax-exempt work of shoring up your positions, or position, you'd have some sort of argument which wasn't constructed of an inferior grade of plywood, some plumber's epoxy, and a Klaxon.

And we ask, again: As we enter the fourth decade of this Business Model bullshit with overwhelming evidence that it doesn't improve things, and more than a little evidence that it contributes nothing but a noisy interference pattern behind which wealthy assholes and their Institutes gorge themselves at the public trough, heedless of our hurtling cosmic swirl down the Big Toilet, when does this sort of thing start getting the blame?

You people imagine that the Hotshot Operators of Fixed Gaming Equipment, Inc. are the best choices to put the world to rights? All I can say is, Babs Bush showed that fetus to the wrong idiot.

[Speaking of which, Intrepid Girl Reporter s.z. has an update on how that story used to play, back before the 2000 elections.]

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