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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More on the Broad prize, our children's CFE dividend, and the parent voice

Although NYC did receive the Broad prize, as widely expected, our letter from parents protesting the award was mentioned in the NY Times today.

David Quintana, a parent whose statement we posted yesterday, and who participated in the focus group that met with Broad researchers, was quoted both in the Times and in today’s NY Sun .

In case anyone is wondering, none of us spoke out to deny NYC students their fair share of $375,000 in scholarships; (NYC was guaranteed at least $125,000 in funds as a Broad finalist.) God knows if these students got through our public school system alive – where fewer than 50% graduate in four years, they deserve it!

We knew our letter would have no effect on these scholarships. Eli Broad is a long-time supporter of many of the education initiatives of this Mayor, has given millions of dollars to DOE, and is in full agreement with the administration’s emphasis on corporate, top-down management, free market competition, and more charter schools. Indeed, we had heard months ago that the fix was in.

Instead, we were trying to ensure that the dissenting voices of parents would be reported along with the award, and to this extent we were successful.

In any event, the Broad award doesn't change the fact that DOE continues to misuse of millions of dollars of state class size reduction funds – in the process, depriving thousands of children of their right to smaller classes -- or the fact that thousands more students are forced drop out of school each year without getting a fair chance to earn a HS diploma, without their fates ever being reported in the official statistics. It is the ability of all these thousands of children to succeed in school and life that we continue to fight for.

$375,000 is a pittance compare to the more than $250 million in state funds that DOE is now putting at risk because of their stubborn refusal to submit a real class size reduction plan to the state.

For more on this more important “prize’ – which represents our children’s CFE dividend, and should be spent responsibly, rather than wasted on more consultants, “data inquiry teams” and testing, see this entry and the NY Sun article from yesterday.

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