Saturday, March 26, 2011

Highs and lows of Thursday's education forum in Washington Heights

On Thursday night, an education forum was hosted by NY State Senator Espaillat. Here is an account of the proceedings from Tory Frye, parent at PS/IS 187:

Noah Gotbaum [ President of the Community Education Council in District 3] was brilliant at last night's education forum in Washington Heights; the crowd completely lit up at his remarks, which were rays of light in an otherwise dark and dismal evening.

From a parent's perspective, here were the low lights:

  • The suggestion by Chancellor Merryl Tisch, head of the NY State Board of Regents, that the state can foster a focus on the arts and music in city schools by making schools accountable/creating standards around them and (I think this is where she was going) testing kids on those subjects too (Wow, kids can learn to hate music and art too!).
  • Senator Espaillat claiming that he had not received any calls from constituents supporting the millionaire's tax (I guess his office forgot to mark down my calls from the past few weeks and days, and e-mails too.).
  • Santi Taveras, Deputy Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education, who was unable to explain the DOE decision not to site a progressive public school (modeled on Central Park East) with a school in D6 that had space available, while instead choosing to co-locate a charter there (and then shot darts at me with his eyes when I corrected him!)
  • Michael Mulgrew, head of the United Federation of Teachers, who said that policy issues were not what he wanted to talk about last night, and that he'd rather focus on teaching practice in the classroom (Really? That's what you want to talk about tonight? Because as a parent I am a little worried about my son's school losing five more teachers next year...and that's on top of the seven we lost the year before).

...And of course all the glad handing, self-congratulatory blabber that was emitted each time any elected official entered the event. The way they like to congratulate themselves, you would think they've all done a mighty fine job on education policy.

On the bright side of this busy week, our school, PS/IS 187, staged a rousing and dramatic protest this morning, complete with the Grim Reaper and Council Member Jackson. We vowed to go after any elected official who does not get behind us parents on this!

-- Tory Frye (D6 parent)


Anonymous said...

The Bruce Springsteen song, "I'm Going Down" keeps on running through my head as I think of Mayor Bloomberg's ratings 'going down."

Anonymous said...

I wish there were a better centralized calendar of these education forums and events with DOE officials and politicians. I would have attended this.

Unknown said...

The comment about Santi Taveras is interesting since he was a student teacher and teacher at Central Park East Secondary. You would think he would be an advocate for this model of school.