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The Challenges and Just A Bit Of Irony: Bloomberg’s Gun Control Advocacy Finds a Hard Sell by Those in Power

Now this is a particularly interesting article.

Bloomberg’s Gun-Limits Coalition Grows, but Finds a Hard Sell in Washington, Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times, January 26, 2010

But despite the coalition’s size, its deep pockets and its muscular
public relations operation, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign has failed to force
major strengthening of federal gun control laws.

1. It casts a light on the long-term nature of advocacy efforts.
2. It affirms the importance of fighting for what you believe.
3. It shows that even Michael Bloomberg, with all his power and influence, can hit a brick wall.

And, well, for me, there’s more than a little bit of irony here. Shall we say if falls broadly into the category of karma?

I have been involved in arts education advocacy efforts related to the New York City public schools, which are controlled solely by Michael Bloomberg for a number of years now.

I am sorry to say that very little of real substance has been achieved, particularly around the issue of restoring categorical funding for arts education, which virtually every arts educator, and non-arts educator I know, excepting those who work at the senior administration level of the NYCDOE, agree is necessary in order to protect and sustain arts education.

There have been many conversations about what to do about arts education in the New York City Public Schools. And guess what, the conversation always comes around to restoring categorical funding (Project Arts). It’s uncanny, a sort of arts education sea level. You can read a little bit about it  here, here, and here, here.

What is more, there have been many policy recommendations made and presented to the NYCDOE in great earnest, by numerous individuals and organizations, and virtually all have been rebuffed.

I admire what Michael Bloomberg is doing to fight the out of control gun lobby in America. And, I also glad to see that even his interests in making change has found doors closed.

My hope here? Well first I hope Bloomberg will keep up the fight against the gun lobby, and will cheer his efforts, and would like to echo David Stockman’s call on Bill Maher’s show last Friday night that guns should be scorned:

The Second Amendment is a vestigial relic of
frontier farmers three centuries ago. It’s about as relevant as chamber
pots and the bleeding cure. It’s really is not necessary to talk about
the Second Amendment in the 21st century.

…What we really need is education. What we need is leadership. We
need people who are in prominent positions to say ‘Guns aren’t
necessary. They’re not needed.’ They’re not part of everyday life in
the 21st century, and they are to be condemned, not to be argued for, as
(gun rights advocates) constantly do. And we’ll get farther that way
than we will fighting another legislative battle.”

I would hope that the Mayor and Schools Chancellor might take this experience through lobbying for gun control legislation, and perhaps take a fresh look at some of the advocacy efforts for things like a quality arts education for all New York City Public Schools.

As historic cuts to public education funding meet super-heated accountability on ELA and math, there are things that can be done to protect arts education from being blown off the education landscape. 

Maybe, just maybe the experience with gun lobbying will make  for new possibilities…

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