Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Who speaks for the children? The Governor, the Mayor, or their parents?
Mayor Bloomberg said today that “The teachers' union represents the employees and the city represents the students." This comment reflects tremendous chutzpah. He and the Governor in recent days have claimed to be acting in the interests of the children who attend our public schools, yet both have ignored the priorities of parents and their right to have a voice in determining education policies.
We parents are the really the ones who speak for our children. What do New York parents want? The vast majority want equitable and adequate funding, smaller classes, a well-rounded curriculum, and less emphasis on standardized testing.
Instead, school budgets have been repeatedly cut, our class sizes have sharply increased and our children have been force-fed a steady diet of test prep. Whenever NYC parents have expressed a different view from him on education issues, Bloomberg has expressed open contempt for their intelligence and claimed they just don't understand the value of a good education.
Now, more than ever, parents realize that the mayor has failed to improve the schools or narrow the achievement gap, as evidenced by his overwhelmingly negative reception on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His agenda of high-stakes accountability, combined with class size increases, have led to less learning, and caused NYC students to fall further behind their peers in the other large cities, as measured by the NAEPs.
These new proposals to force districts to adopt a teacher evaluation system based largely on test scores will further undermine the quality of education that our children receive.