Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What (or who) I am grateful for

This has been a rocky year in many ways for the causes I care most about; with class sizes increasing in all grades for the first time in ten years, a disappointing capital plan, and big budget cuts on the horizon.

Though I usually criticize on this list serv, I’d like to take a moment today to tell you about some of the people I am grateful for.

I am grateful for the fact that we have some excellent public servants in this city.

These include (but are not limited to): Speaker Shelly Silver, Assembly member Cathy Nolan, CM Robert Jackson, Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer, and Betsy Gotbaum, the Public Advocate. All of them believe that parents should have a voice in how the system is run, and that class sizes should be small enough to ensure that NYC children are able to receive personal attention they need from their teachers.

I am grateful for their hardworking staff as well – you know who you are!

I am grateful for my own two State legislators, Sen. Tom Duane and AM Deborah Glick, who always are welcoming when I make the long trip to Albany.

I am grateful for the members of the City Council from both parties who led the battle over term limits, even if it was a losing cause, especially Bill de Blasio, Leticia James, John Liu, and James Oddo.

I am grateful for a very robust corps of education reporters in this city – most other cities do not have so many smart and aggressive reporters. I am especially grateful that despite the demise of the NY Sun, Elizabeth Green found a new home at Gotham Schools; (though I do still miss Mike Meenan of NY 1.)

I am grateful for the members of our Parent Commission on school governance; and the Manhattan Task force of School Overcrowding, for their tremendous support, insight, and hard work on issues that are not easy to solve but that are critical to the future of education in this city.

I am grateful for Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan appointee to the Panel of Educational Policy and the co-chair of the Overcrowding Task force, for his analytic abilities, and his courage in questioning the priorities and policies of this administration.

I am grateful for Norman Siegel and his boundless energy and enthusiasm in challenging City Hall when the administration violates the law.

I am grateful for Diane Ravitch’s commitment, eloquence and engagement as a writer, blogger, and true public intellectual.

I am grateful for her fellow bloggers, Debbie Meier, Jennifer Jennings, and Aaron Pallas – like Diane, it would be far easier for all of them to stay safe and cloistered in the groves of academe, but they continue to speak truth to power every day.

I am grateful to each of the wonderful contributors to our NYC public school parent blog, especially Gary Babad, who always can make me laugh no matter how dark the day, and David Bellel, whose illustrations are ceaselessly inventive and who has videotaped all our School governance forums.

I am grateful for all those who have volunteered their time for Class Size Matters, including Ann Kjellberg, Irene Kaufman, Eric Zerof, and Emily Horowitz.

I am extremely grateful for all those who have made financial contributions to the organization.

I am grateful for my family and friends.

Finally, I am grateful to all of those who continue to be actively involved in the crucial effort to improve our public schools and without whose support I could not continue this work.

Happy New Year to all!


Anonymous said...

Just finished reading what you are grateful for. I'm grateful that Leonie created this blog. I'm grateful that Leonie keeps the NYC communinity of parents, students, teachers etc. informed of what is actually happening to our schools. It's gratifying to know that we have a voice that we can rely on on to be an advocate for the truth and what really matters in education as opposed to test prep and test scores and lies about higher test scores. Why is this gratifying? Because when someone stands up to misguided, un-intelliegent and dishonest political leaders whose actions damage schools, students and teachers this person is being a responsible and engaged citizen. They are fulfilling a civic duty. The duty to inform fellow citizens of what is actually happening and in this way educating the public about the consequences of the mayor's failed educational policies. If Bloomberg had done what he's done to the school system and no one had described the real damage I would have left New York in despair. Thinking that he had really fooled everybody. Thank you Leonie for what you are doing and know that you are known and recognized for your "good deeds" by a fellow New Yorker and retired NYC school teacher.

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Saint-Petersburg Hotels said...

very well thinking you have.Thank you Leonie for what you are doing and know that you are known and recognized for your "good deeds" by a fellow New Yorker and retired NYC school teacher.