Thursday, February 13, 2020

Think Education

You'd never know it from the media obsession about the stop-and-frisk policy of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, but the worst of Bloomberg is missed by this:

No, in isolation, they are not "one of the most racist stats" ever. Even excluding Nazi Germany, and slavery in our own country, they are not near the top. We don't know, among other things:

- how many white people were stopped- and what percentage of them were innocent. (The percentage of whites who were stopped undoubtedly is lower than of blacks, perhaps even at a statistically significant level. However, it's conceivable that

- on what basis were blacks stopped? (It might have been simply because of their color, a bulge in their pocket, or suspicious behavior- whatever that might have been.)

- in what neighborhoods the stops took place- and at what times of the day.

- of those individuals of whatever race who were not innocent, for what they were found guilty. (Possession of marijuana for personal use does not rise to the level of illegal possession of a weapon.)

Stop-and-frisk, about which Bloomberg is legitimately questioned, took place from 2003 to 2010. However,  in 2014 the New Yorker

criticized the large fines meted out to banks in recent years. "Some of these fines I think are outrageous and shouldn't be allowed to take place," he said.

Bloomberg adamantly defended the industry in the face of its pre-and-post crisis scandals. "Things have chagned dramatically for the better for the public," he said, but "you wouldn't believe that if you read the newspapers." And he said more regulation could mean a financial system that does less to stimulate the broader economy. "If you reduce the risk, they can't make the money, they can't provide the financing that this country and world needs to create jobs and build infrastructure and all of those things."

That was merely five years ago (video, from 2010). Further, we learned only last month

Bloomberg will soon roll out an education plan that will include backing the privately managed schools as an option for families, his campaign office told The Post — drawing a contrast with other top-tier Democratic presidential rivals.

“Mike’s education plan will absolutely promote charter schools,” Bloomberg campaign spokesman Stu Loeser insisted.

“The record number of charter schools opened under Mayor Bloomberg is clear. That isn’t changing.”

“Few if any people in the country have opened more charter schools than Mike Bloomberg,” he continued.

Under pressure, the former mayor has walked back advocacy of his stop-and-frisk policy.  But it was less than six weeks ago- as a presidential candidate in America's reputedly liberal party- that Bloomberg's campaign has bragged about plans which will further undermine the public school system in the USA.

Put Bloomberg's support of for-profit educational enterprises together with his record of running interference with large financial institutions, we may have the beginning of a pattern of support for continued privatization of the economy, a subject which disturbingly has gotten no attention in the Democratic primary race.

People care about education, as do even voters. Most understand it plays a greater role in their lives than does race. If other Democratic campaigns confront Michael Bloomberg about his promotion of the destroy public schools movement, it probably would help derail his primary campaign. And if it doesn't, it will at least have the benefit of proving wrong my hypothesis in the first sentence of this paragraph, and give us yet another reason to fear for the future of politics in the country.

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