Monday, September 8, 2008

Parents paying for teachers; Joel Klein approves!

See an article from Sunday’s NY Post, about parents raising funds to hire assistant teachers to help out in overcrowded classes, a practice that has gone on for many years in our wealthier schools.

Some examples in the illustration to the right; courtesy of the NY Post.

I talked to the Post reporter at length who was researching this practice, and pointed out to her that it was DOE's failure to provide reasonable class sizes that put NYC parents in this impossible situation- having to decide whether to raise money to hire assistant teachers, or move to the suburbs or transfer their kids to private schools, in an effort to ensure that their children do not suffer in substandard conditions of classes of 25, 30 or more.

Unfortunately, the editors cut my quote from the final article.

It is still against the regulations to hire full-time teachers with private money – that is, is in our regular public schools as opposed to charter schools; although Joel Klein seems unaware of this distinction.

According to today’s NY Times blog, at a charter school event, Klein said he has not problem with parent funds being used to hire even extra teachers, no less assistants:

After the event, Mr. Klein said that he was having his lawyers make sure that the parents were abiding by the department’s regulations, but added that he had no problem as with the policy of allowing PTAs to pay for teachers or teaching assistants.

“Obviously we want parents to support our schools but we want to do it in a way that is clear and open and transparent,” he said. “I think it’s great that parents would support our school. We want everybody to support our schools. We’ve raised lots of money to support our schools and individual parents and PTAs have raised lots of money.

“The basic policy is good…”

It’s interesting that the Chancellor is so favorably inclined to this unfortunate practice, (not that I blame the parents involved one iota.)

After all, it’s his refusal to reduce class size which is at fault – despite billions of dollars in state funds provided for that purpose and a law that requires him to do so.

It remains a somewhat peculiar position for someone who supposedly believes so strongly in equity, though I suppose it is pragmatic. After all, this private fund raising helps get him off the hook.

I also wonder when he will require the same transparency for charter school fund raising and per pupil spending …but that would dispel the fantasy that these schools accomplish more for less.

See this blog entry from Patrick for more about how contrary to the view commonly expressed, charter schools are apparently receiving more per pupil funding from the city than regular public schools – even apart from their opulent private fundraising.

1 comment:

Rupert Murdoch said...

Quite unfair. Too feeble to do their own reporting, the Times simply copies our story a day later. And you give them equal billing?! Why do they even bother? The paper of record. Ha!