Friday, March 30, 2007

the Mayor's hypocrisy and contempt for NYC parents

Two articles in today’s NY Sun re class size. First, re the state budget deal:

... lawmakers and Mr. Spitzer softened a demand by the Assembly that New York City lower its class-size average to the state median level over a four-year period, or risk losing billions of dollars in new funding. Although the exact wording is still being worked out, sources said Mayor Bloomberg will not be strictly required to lower class size by that amount, but will be forced to demonstrate that he is decreasing the burden on teachers.”

According to Albany insiders, apparently this is wrong and the final deal on class size has not yet been struck. It is clear, however, there will be 50 more charter schools for NYC.

Also, during his press conference yesterday, Bloomberg called the effort to require smaller classes with the additional state aid “individual union agendas and some ideological agendas when it comes to education...That is phenomenally dangerous, and hopefully that will not happen."

Randi Weingarten had a great answer: "If believing that helping kids by getting them the best teachers possible and reducing class sizes is ideological, then call me an ideologue on behalf of children."

Yet the Mayor's continued insistence that this is only the union's agenda is a slap in the face to all NYC public school parents, who in every public meeting this year and in every resolution they pass, have repeatedly told Bloomberg and Klein that they believe their kids desperately need smaller classes to succeed. To argue that this is only a UFT issue, and then to try to demonize Randi shows the Mayor's utter contempt for our very existence.

Instead, it is the Mayor’s education agenda, based on more charter schools, privatization, and untested radical funding schemes, which is relentlessly ideological and phenomenally dangerous.

When it comes to his own daughters, who attended private school, of course there’s nothing dangerous about ensuring that they were provided with class sizes of 15 students or less.

If NYC parents ask that their children be provided with what public school students in the rest of the state already receive – classes of 20-22 on average, it’s somehow dangerous.

I guess it’s only ideological to demand smaller classes when it comes to every one else's children but your own.

Check back here for an update on whether the Mayor and his well-paid minions have won their battle to deny our children the smaller classes that they need and deserve – and that according to the Court of Appeals is their constitutional right.

All I heard up in Albany this week was reports of the disinformation campaign the city’s lobbyists were spreading far and wide, in their effort to do everything they could to derail the effort to do the right thing by our kids.

1 comment:

Noel said...

thanks for all of you who called and faxed and wrote letters – we generated almost 1200 faxes in the last few days. At least the legislators can’t say that they never heard from us this time around.

And they, and the mayor's would-be successor, will hear from us again in the voting booths if they fail our children on this. "Decreasing the burden on teachers" is not equivalent to reducing class size. And we need real class size reduction, not games with numbers that include cluster teachers and produce false averages.

Count me as one of many, many parents who have absolutely no union affiliation or ideological agenda, other than the intent to see that all of our children get an equal opportunity to receive a quality education. And we will not forget if our elected representatives compromise on this fundamental issue -- if they trade our children's welfare for political points.

A reasonable class size is a mandatory part of what constitutes "quality education". Klein's false dichotomy between "bad teacher with small class" vs. "good teacher with big class" is not a choice we accept. We must demand both.