Diane Ravitch: Holding Education Hostagetags: education reform, NY Review of Books, Diane Ravitch, Michael Bloomberg
Diane Ravitch won the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in 2011 for her “careful use of social science research for the public good.” (July 2012)
For weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been battling over the issue of teacher evaluation. Governor Andrew Cuomo set a deadline for them to reach an agreement, but they failed to do so, potentially costing the city schools hundreds of millions of dollars. The state education commissioner, John King, jumped into the fray by threatening to withhold over a billion dollars in state and federal aid if there was no settlement between the parties. Now, Governor Cuomo says that he may intervene and take charge of the stalemated negotiations.
What’s going on here? Why can’t the mayor and the union reach an agreement? Why does Commissioner King intend to punish the city’s children if the grown-ups don’t agree?
The imbroglio began with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program. Immediately after Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, with the economy in free fall, Congress passed the huge economic stimulus package, which included $100 billion to aid schools: $95 billion to be disbursed to states to avoid massive layoffs of teachers and the remaining $5 billion to be given to the US Department of Education to promote education reforms....
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