But at a deeper level, it built a case, dramatizing how each city system—the schools, the police, the mayor’s office—crushed individual attempts at change. Despite the show’s humanism (the way it lit up the lowliest kid dealers), The Wire was a very grim portrait of the city Simon loves—a pitiless exposure of “some shameful shit right there.”
What's usually lost in the portrayal of current urban ed "reform" is how much it has accelerated the above process. In The Wire there's an often brutal relationship between politicians, administration and the folks working in the streets. But there is a relationship, the people at least know each other. What it is really like now in urban schools is a season of The Wire where the entire administration of the police force has been replaced by guys from McKinsey, and instead of Jimmy McNulty getting screwed by his long-time enemies in administration and managing to maneuver around to work his way back into homicide though his connections and the begrudging recognition of his skills by the bosses, he's just bounced to the police equivalent of the rubber room and out of the force by people to whom he's only a number and part of the "old guard" and "status quo."