Saturday, May 9, 2009


I don't think Bloomberg, Sharpton, and Gingrich are such "strange bedfellows." Do you?

It was the very image of the strange-bedfellow triumvirate standing outside the White House yesterday after an audience with the President - Mayor Bloomberg, Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich - that dominated most stories. But far more compelling is the nature of the bed the three, and countless others, have made for themselves, in the Education Equality Project. (Daily News)

C'mon. You gotta love Gingrich talking the "civil rights" talk to Obama.

"I think this is an issue that should bring all Americans together," Gingrich said, saying that education should be a civil rights issue for the 21st century.

Hey Newt! You must not have heard. Civil rights was an issue in the 20th century too when you were running for Congress from Georgia as a Dixie-Pub. Now you're attacking bi-lingualism as "ghetto language", calling for an end to multiculturalism in schools, replacing it with "patriotic education." So actually, civil rights is still the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

Note to Arne

Elizabeth Green at Gotham Schools reports that NYC Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, sent a note to Arne Duncan, warning him to take Bloomberg's B.S. with a grain of salt. Green also wonders why only three bedfellows went to the Obama meeting. What happened to Joel Klein, the head of the "no-excuses" faction.

No more "miracles" please

No sooner had the Streets & San guys hauled away anther year's worth of homages from the expressway underpass near my house, where leaky walls had etched an image of the Virgin Mary (if you squinted your eyes) than I read David Brooks piece, "The Harlem Miracle."Now don't get me wrong. I believe in miracles as much as the next guy. For example, there was Kobe Bryant's incredible shot Friday night from near mid-court with one second left on the shot clock. Only not when it comes to public schools and the so-called achievement gap. It's just that I've just seen too many of them debunked recently. First there was the "Texas Miracle" that made the dropout rate supposedly disappear from urban schools and propel Gov. George Bush into the presidency. Then there was the the great "Chicago Miracle" called Renaissance 2010.

Brooks' miracle has the Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy, on its own, without any changes in the living conditions of Harlem' children, completely and totally eliminating the achievement gap between wealthy white students and poorer children of color. It must be true, writes Brooks, because a friend of his at Harvard visited the school and had an epiphany.

This is no knock on the Promise Academy. I'm sure that a small school with a good group of teachers and lots of resources can produce a jump in test scores. But let's cool it on the miracle talk please.

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