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Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Parent Responds to Learn NY's Spokesman

In this earlier post, we identified how "anonymous" comments pitching the renewal of mayoral control left on this and other blogs were actually being made by a paid operative for MASS / Learn NY, an organization chaired by Geoff Canada. The operative's return visit, this time as Brian Keeler, drew a strong comment in response from one anonymous parent. I've given it space here as a separate post so more people will see it:

Hey BK!

Just want to know how your kids fair in our public schools? If they attend high school in any number of our poverty stricken (read ghetto) neighborhoods, do they tell you how it feels to be searched and wanded before entering their school buildings? Do they speak on the daily humiliation of being verbally assaulted by security staff and teachers for minor infractions like talking to their friends? Have they spoken to you about being yelled at constantly while contained in overcrowded classes that offer no meaningful instruction relevant to their cultures, interests or futures, or feel patronized by over-wrought, inexperienced newbie teachers who liken their classroom experiences in any of NYC’s over 900 Title 1 schools to being Peace Corps workers in Third world countries?

Oh, that's right-- you aren't a NYC public school parent! Nor did you grow up here or attend our highly segregated school system. As an out-of-towner, can we safely assume your children (if you indeed have any), aren’t participating in the Mayor's great social experiment?

Let’s be very clear about the PR spin at Learning NY. You don’t represent students and their concerned parents’ needs or interests-- just the Mayor's and Chancellor's. In fact, you really have NO CLUE about what really goes on inside the majority of NYC’s very out dated, overcrowded, shabby buildings located all over the five boroughs---you'd be scared to park your car down the street from most of them. None of you have the faintest intention of responding to the Y.R.N.E.S. (Youth Researchers for a New Education System) report sponsored by the Independent Commission on Public Education (iCOPE) and presented to the Department of Education by our high school students who overwhelmingly claim race, class, income and gender bias against them. Nor is there a plan to address the Girls Gender Equity Inc. survey of over 1,400 middle and high school boys and girls who report that 80% of them have been sexually harassed inside their schools.

Still, in all your wisdom and experience with bureaucratic BS, maybe you can give me a quick solution to this nagging school environment concern. My son’s high school has 525 students, is located on one and ½ floors in a shared building with three other schools and it has no lockers. Last year, my son had to divert his learning attention to act quickly in order to remove his jacket from his seat back and zip up his book bag so the mouse scurrying around in his English class wouldn’t climb in. When he saw this, the novice teacher laughed and said the school's mice and other assorted roaches and rodents are just trying to get taken back to where they came from: my home.


As soon as you and all the other upper income, Caucasian honchos at the DoE integrate the schools by enrolling your own children in them, we parents will believe you really care and will do meaningful, innovative work that provides a high quality, equitable education to all children of this city. Only then will we know that our concerns are yours.

Until then-- as the kids say, "stop frontin'" which loosely translated means, just shut up.


NYC Educator said...

My school has almost 5000 kids in a building designed to hold 1800. It's gotten much worse under Bloomberg and Klein. It's unbelievable that these folks can put up these ads, and even more so that anyone believes them. I suppose if you live in NY or elsewhere and never set foot in a public school they're easy to believe.

And that's just another reason why people who wouldn't send their own kids to public schools are patently unfit to run them.

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