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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

silly editorials and summer school confusion

Today’s Washington Post features a ridiculous editorial in support of the Sharpton/Klein alliance, which is described as “a fast-growing national coalition of educators, politicians and academicians that aims to focus attention on the real issues of education reform.” No doubt this was written by the same credulous bunch who bought the line of the Bush administration that we needed to declare war on Iraq. Perhaps they should occasionally try visiting planet Earth.

The NY Times blames the City Council and not the Mayor for the refusal to restore all social services by eliminating the reduction in the property tax, ignoring the fact that Bloomberg's budget neglected to countenance any such change. They write: “Traditionally, New York mayors propose cuts needed to balance the budget as required by law, and then the City Council fights to restore funds to education, health and other social programs”, thus letting Bloomberg off the hook.

While during the negotiations, the Mayor apparently gave the council the option to reduce the property tax cut if they wanted to restore social services, he made it clear that they would have to shoulder the blame if they chose to do so. This is not political leadership and he deserves at least equal condemnation.

Meanwhile, the Staten Island Advance reports on the chaos created as students scramble for seats at summer schools. Apparently, Tweed has now given up planning summer school and is now leaving it up to principals, each of whom has imposed different rules at different schools. Rationale?

In the past, summer school enrollment was handled centrally by the city Department of Education (DOE). However, in the last year or two, principals have been making the rules at their own schools.

Maibe Gonzalez-Fuentes, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said the change was part of a larger initiative to give principals more decision-making power.

"We have such a huge and diverse school system so the same idea doesn't work for everyone," she said. "Principals know best what their students need."

Ironically, Tweed also created huge confusion this year by taking over the admissions process for preK, middle school and Gifted and Talented programs that they once left up to districts and individual principals -- and in each case, they botched it. They just can't seem to leave anything alone.

Actually, despite the line that they want to give more discretion to principals, it’s only those programs and services that DOE doesn’t care about that they are leaving up to individual schools, like class size. Anything they think is important, like more testing, data analysis, and data inquiry teams, they are spending millions of dollars on and forcing upon schools -- no matter how useless.

Clearly, they have lost interest in summer school, which is now so underfunded that schools are forced to restrict which groups of failing students are eligible to enroll.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

Ya know, I'm not getting my share of liberal bias from the Times anymore. Did you see this Sunday love story on Rush Limbaugh?

You may as well read the Post.