Archive for April 25th, 2003

25th April
2003

First Published in The New York Sun, April 25, 2003

By Andrew Wolf

Whenever our friends in the New Tweed Ring — the Department of Education — want to discredit the growing number of opponents to their structural plan, they always chant the same old mantra: Political leaders who disagree with Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein’s plan to eliminate the existing 32 school districts and create in their place 10 regions simply want to preserve the status quo. Parents and community leaders are similarly interested in preserving their influence and — of all things — their property values.

Certainly, the current system is imperfect. But it has been improved by previous reforms of recent vintage. Now, an imperfect system is being replaced by a sinister structure, one that would warm the heart of the man who built the building the Department of Education now occupies.

The abuses of William MarcyTweed and others of his time led to the creation of a civil service system. We can scoff at the bureaucratic excesses that this system created, but it seems that every time we relax, more sinister demons come flying at us.Those of us who supported mayoral control of the school system are now shaking our heads in a combination of dismay and disgust. A flawed system is turning into a malignant one, with all of the potential pitfalls that unrestrained power and patronage can bring. (more…)