Season 4 of The Wire is scheduled. Because the show will focus on Baltimore City Public Schools, I'm much more excited about it than I normally would be - as in, I probably won't just "wait until DVD," as I have every other season. In fact, I'm considering getting cable again. Dang, I wish I could just pay $12 a month for HBO and be done with it. Unfortunately, "getting cable" means the exorbitant rates for all the cable channels plus HBO on top of that, so I'm thinking that's a bill in the area of $60 or $70. Perhaps I could get Comcast Cable for my internet connection and get some sort of deal that way, moving away from Verizon DSL (which I've been happy with). Just thinking out loud here.
Anyhow, one of my students has been working as an extra on The Wire during filming this season. She's sworn to secrecy so she can't tell me anything about it, though she also tells me she doesn't really know what's going on. I'm definitely intrigued by the storyline of a cop becoming a teacher, which is especially interesting to me because I taught for a year alongside one of the creators of the show who was also a former police officer.
Wonder when Season 3 of the DVD comes out so I can catch up on the show.
I have to admit, though, that I'm a little worried about the portrayal of BCPS, which continue to be used as a political volleyball by both sides of the political debate this year, though mostly by the Ehrlich camp. I was listening to the Ed Norris show yesterday, and they had a Democratic candidate for Comptroller of Maryland. Now, I don't trust anyone who is not given pause when hearing about the escapades of William Donald Shaeffer, so I would expect that people would want to at least hear from other viable candidates. But Norris's callers - mostly from the Republican side of the spectrum, so they won't even be voting in the Democratic Primary - would ask the candidate a question, and he'd answer it in a quiet, reasoned manner, but they'd cut him off and say something like, "Ed, this guy is making me sick!" and Norris would just let them do that and say something like, "I'm sorry, ____, but we have to have both sides on," as if he was apologizing for having a Democrat on.
One guy said, "So, you say that Martin O'Malley has been good for Baltimore. Why do you say that?" and the candidate went onto a reasoned explanation of the city's population growth, housing costs, and then was cut off. The caller said, "You're making me sick! O'Malley is the reason I won't go back into the city! The Baltimore City Public Schools are the biggest joke in the nation!"
The schools were the item that he led off with in his tirade, which eventually got to crime, which is the one place where O'Malley probably does deserve some blame. But the schools? It's what Ehrlich is leading off with in his campaign, school-bashing, saying the Baltimore City Schools are "horrific," so it's what his voters are parroting. Again, you only hear the bad things about the schools in these spots - never articles about the positives, like this article. And I've talked about this before, but the mayor should not be given much credit for the schools' successes - which are many, including the highest African American graduation numbers in the country, improving test scores across all grade levels, some awesome schools at every level - nor should he be given blame for the failures of the schools, which are also many (though I would argue that those are just as much a failure of the society. what are schools supposed to do when 42 are on roll but only half show up every day, as happens in most high schools in the city?). The Governor appointed just as many people to the Baltimore City Public School Board as the Mayor did. Their share is equal. Only one of them, though, Bob Ehrlich, sat back when I almost got laid off in 2003 and called my problem "fascinating." O'Malley swooped in and saved my job, so I'll always be thankful.
I've gotten too much into the politics, but I'm very sensitive about use of the schools in the political battles that will occur in the next several months, so I'm worried about The Wire using the schools as a political pawn like Ehrlich and O'Malley will. We'll see what happens...
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