Last night he had all the well-scripted stock cliches about Chicago public schools not being "cost effective." Jitu came loaded with good research and lots of stories from his work with schools and neighborhoods on the south side, which Richwine dismissed as "anecdotal." He claimed he had the real data, right from some economists, showing that schools needed to be closed and that the resulting 40 students in a class would be no problem for "good teachers."
But what really pushed my button was when he came out with that old canard, "throwing money at schools doesn't work." I found myself, squeezed for time as usual on these shows, shouting out, "why are the people with all the money always the ones telling us not to throw money at it?"
I actually borrowed that line from Jonathan Kozol via Brother Fred. Thanks JK.
After I got home, I realized that Richwine was only parroting Arne Duncan on the 40-students-in-a-class crap. It was Duncan, speaking a year ago at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, who claimed that, "Class size has been a sacred cow and I think we need to take it on." I'd hand over my pension check for a chance to watch either Duncan or Richwine in a classroom, trying to manage a class of 40 first-graders.
So now, here was this know-nothing right-winger, drawing on Obama's Ed Secretary Duncan's wit and wisdom about class size and using it to defend the school closing policies of a Democratic Party mayor.
Yes, Chicago politics do make for some not-so-strange bed fellows.