The net message here seems to be that hedge fund moguls are really good guys, albeit a bit misguided. We should simply aspire to redirect them to "focus reform efforts on traditional neighborhood schools, which continue to educate over 90 percent of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students".
Sorry, but I don't want my children educated under the guidance of the hedge fund crowd. Teachers, principals and a plain old school board would be just fine even if those very socially conscious elites shun the public schools when it comes to their own kids. Besides, I've got quite enough of their test prep, merit pay and the narrowing curriculum already.
But if "progressive Democrat" hedge funders are so popular with the progressive crowd at the Nation Institute, then maybe I'll forward all those fundraising solicitations the Nation sends onto Whitney Tilson.
Had I known Mr. Gessen's excellent panel discussion was examining the events at the Chancellor's meeting, I would have come to listen. I represent Manhattan on the PEP and was in attendance on Oct 25th.
What I find most ridiculous about Langer's account is how he offhandedly equates the role of overseeing the education of 1.1 million children with the role played by executive staffers. With the exception of a few cities, Americans have elected school boards that represent communities and select a qualified superintendent to manage public education. We have instead a system whereby one man makes all decisions without checks and balances. Right now his primary focus is on handing over vast swathes of the public school infrastructure and funding to charter schools controlled by hedge fund titans. Long before there was an OWS there were many of us with concerns about very wealthy people who send their own children to private schools controlling the education of our children. With unprecedented corruption, overcrowding, test prep replacing teaching, layoffs, arts & science lost, at some point people get tired of the "write your question neatly on an index card" form of participation that the mayor offers. If Langer and Gessen find the response from teachers and parents "disturbing" then perhaps they can find some time to examine the underlying issues driving that response.
To be fair, our new chancellor does have some education experience. She currently sits on the board of a charter school where teacher attrition has ranged from 42 to 72 percent and the student suspension rate was 62%.