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Patrick J. Sullivan: “The people who control our schools … don’t send their own kids to these schools. They have one idea of education for our kids and an entirely different one for their own. The core principle of the Bloomberg administration … is condescension: … one idea for their children and a different idea … for everybody else.”

Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon. What would it take for the Republicans to send Obama home in 2012? The Republican party can steal Obama’s second term if party leadership has the nerve to put forward a liberal Republican willing to make and keep a single promise: No more than twelve students per class, in every public institution from kindergarten to graduate school.

We’ll invest in education until our public institutions have student-faculty ratios that exceed those of the boarding school that incoming New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black chose for her own kids.

The slogan “12 in 2012″ isn’t a one-stop fix for all that ails education. However as a game-changing simple promise, it could be a long-overdue intervention in a conversation that’s gone down a rat-hole of dishonesty and propaganda.

It’s a jobs creation bill. It transcends ethnicity, religion, and class. It targets Obama at his Achilles’ heel, delivering the largest bipartisan constituency in the country: educators, students, and parents.

Here’s your litmus test: Upper East Side parent Patrick J. Sullivan, active in Class Size Matters and NYC Public School Parents, who serves on the powerless New York City Panel for Education Policy (8 of the 13 members are directly appointed by the Mayor).

IMHO, any Republican that can honestly answer and satisfy Sullivan’s outrage below can steal Obama’s second term:

“I represent the borough of Manhattan on what the mayor calls the Panel for Educational Policy but what is in the law the Board of Education of the City of New York. I see here today parents and their elected leaders and I see teachers from every borough. I see them from every race and I see them from every income level and from every political party. Why is that?

“Because I’ve learned from talking to people is that every parent wants to the same thing for their kids: they want a rich curriculum, they want an experienced teacher, they want small classes, and they want room for their kids in their schools.

“But what have I learned from sitting on the Board of Educaiton for three years? I’ve learned that instead of schools, we’re going to build a billion dollar police academy. Instead of a rich curriculum, we get test prep and drilling in math and ELA. Instead of small classes, we get our kids packed 28, 30, 35, 40 in a class and that’s wrong.

“But the worst of all this is the people who control our schools, the people who run our schools, the Mayor, the Chancellor, the Regents, they don’t send their own kids to these schools. They have one idea of education for our kids and and an entirely different one for their own.

“Beyond autonomy, beyond accountability, beyond privatization, the core principle of the Bloomberg administration when it comes to education is condescension: the idea that there’s one idea of education for their children and a totally different idea of education for everybody else’s, and that’s what has to stop.”

Transcript: NYC Public School Parents
Hat tip: Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier



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