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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Public School Students to be “Furloughed” in Budget Crisis

March 26, 2009 (GBN News): Fresh on the heels of Governor Paterson’s proposed state employee layoffs and the adoption of the MTA “Doomsday Budget”, the NY City Department of Education has announced its own draconian cuts. In a statement at City Hall, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced that the DOE will immediately be instituting a policy of “furloughs” for public school students in order to reduce the budget.

Under the plan, each student in grades K through 12 will be required to stay at home for one school day a week. Spread over the entire school system, this will enable the DOE to save money by consolidating classes and excessing hundreds of teachers.

In announcing the plan, Chancellor Klein assured parents that children will not miss any important educational instruction. “While children may have to forego some of the non-essential subjects like art, social studies and science, we can guarantee that no child will do without reading and math test prep, and their standardized test scores will not suffer as a result of the furloughs.”

Critics immediately pounced on the plan, calling it a violation of state education law. However, the Chancellor said that the furloughs will technically be termed “suspensions”, and thus are totally legal. “We know all these kids carry cell phones in school every day,” Mr. Klein said. “That’s a clear violation of DOE policy, so now whenever we need to furlough students, we’ll just suspend them for posession of cell phones.”

The Chancellor also sought to reassure public school parents that they do have alternatives. Because of the federal stimulus package, Mr. Klein pointed out, massive infusions of money will be available for charter schools, and thus those schools will be exempt from the furloughs. “All they have to do is apply to charter schools,” he said, “and their kids won’t miss a day.”

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