Monday, December 22, 2008
Budget Cuts Update at Panel for Educational Policy
At last week's meeting we heard the latest on the budget cuts. Click here for the presentation. There is information on page nine about where schools have started to cut. The largest categories are classroom supplies, before/after school per-session funding and substitute teachers.
I again asked for cuts in the Office of Accountability and Press Office. Now that my own children are in third grade, I can see firsthand the excessive test prep and the complete absurdity of paying McGraw Hill $80 million for interim assessments to be presented online in the Acuity system. If we must have test prep, then a paper practice test is infinitely cheaper and far more practical. When I explained to the Chancellor that there was no benefit to teaching or learning, in fact it's harder for parents to see the information, he simply admitted he would not convince me of the benefits, nor I dissuade him.
And so despite the woeful situation of the city and state budgets, the Bloomberg administration is determined to pour money into the Accountability Initiative. Testing materials, test prep, databases for test scores and test-related staff positions devour the education budget. For example, see this expensive position for Knowledge Manager advertised while schools cannot even fund substitutes or tutoring. All this money spent on testing while the mayor himself has vowed to send another $526 million in cuts directly to the classroom. This one on top of the $385 he's already sent us.
Here is an apt photo-illustration by Dave B; Data-Zilla wipes out a city starting with the education budget.