Shortchanging NYC students
More than 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that separate was inherently unequal, and after hundreds of thousands fought against racism and for the integration of public schools, this country's public school system remains blatantly segregated--and is growing more so by the day.The Department of Education's proposal to place the new Millennium Brooklyn in the John Jay campus reveals the racism and inequity in the New York City public schools. It also demands that we revive the inspiring struggles of past civil rights movements and take a stand against racism.
Water damage from a chronically leaky roof was so bad that some classroom walls crumbled. Door frames separated from the walls. In 2005-2006, when the roof of the building was belatedly replaced, nearly every classroom on the fourth floor was flooded. The science lab was so badly damaged that tiles floated in the water. To this day, the lab floor remains a patchwork of different-colored tiles.
Though the building received funds for wireless access throughout, most of our students' classrooms have only one electrical outlet, severely limiting the use of interactive whiteboards, LCD projectors and document readers. In our dingy student and faculty bathrooms, the plumbing is so old that the toilets fail with regularity.Our drinking fountains function sporadically; what water we get is always lukewarm. Ancient radiators either heat rooms like blast furnaces or don't work at all. Whatever funding ever existed for classroom air conditioners never made it to our fourth floor. Of course, there's no place to plug them in if they ever do.