Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bill to end mayoral control from Inez and Charles Barron

From Assemblywoman Inez Barron and Councilman Charles Barron

April 26, 2011

If I had to give a letter grade to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and newly appointed Chancellor, Dennis Walcott on educating our children, it would be a resounding “F” because they have failed.  This is not just empty rhetoric; here are the facts – Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor of Education Walcott have been responsible for educating our children since 2002 which makes it nearly ten years.  
When they started, the NYC Department of Education’s budget was over 10 billion dollars and has since risen to 23 billion dollars.  For argument’s sake, let’s give it a low, conservative average of 10 billion dollars a year (of course this number is much higher).  That means Bloomberg and Walcott, almost into their tenth year, had over 100 billion dollars to educate 1.1 million educable children; with over 85% of those children being Black and Latino.  Hold on to that! Now let’s examine some of their failing policies:

  • Phasing out low performing schools that they didn’t support in the first place, instead of providing them with the necessary resources to succeed.  They set them up for failure.  When financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Smith Barney failed, they didn’t phase them out; they bailed them out with tax payer’s money stating that they were just too big to fail.  Well we say bail out our schools because our children are just too important to fail.

  • Co-locating Charter Schools in Public School buildings.  Let’s not be fooled by the oxymoron Public Charters.  Charter Schools are privately owned and should seek and obtain private funding for space to house their schools.  Three and four schools in one building is logistical chaos which forces the faculty to juggle with the use of common space like bathrooms, auditoriums, gymnasiums and lunchrooms (causing some students to cope with 10am lunches).  Absurd!

  • One size curriculum fits all, is just a foolish policy.  Schools should be given the flexibility to adopt a curriculum that meets the unique needs of their student population, with the understanding that some things will be standardized.

  • Constant restructuring of the system leads to a destabilized educational environment.  Students, teachers and administrators need stability.  Bloomberg and Walcott didn’t reform the system; they excessively restructured it, because they didn’t know what they were doing.  They are not educators. 

  • High stakes standardized testing.  This has turned our schools into test taking mills; stressing out principals, teachers, students and families.  Test prep periods dominate the school schedules.  Many schools, if not most, lack the necessities that contribute to a well-rounded quality education, such as science labs, computer labs, updated libraries, smart boards, music programs, athletic programs, cultural arts programs, just to name a few. 
  • Overcrowded Classrooms!  Everyone knows that smaller class size leads to more manageable classrooms and provides for a more optimum learning environment for our children.  Bloomberg and Walcott had more than enough time and money (billions in Capital dollars) to reduce class size.  They didn’t! 

After nearly ten years of Bloomberg and Walcott, who had over 100 billion dollars to educate 1.1 million educable children, utilizing these policies and practices, the following results clearly speak to their failure.

These results are according to the New York State Department of Education’s report on student graduation rates and preparedness.  The data collected is the latest available information from the 2009 school year.

The report indicates that New York State schools graduate 77% of their students and only 41% are prepared for college or a career. For state schools, preparedness is based on a score of 80 on the Regents exams.  The City is much worse!  Only 65% of New York City's students graduate and worse yet, an abysmal 23% are prepared for college or a career.  Black and Latino students graduate at a 62% rate and only 15% are prepared for college or a career.  How about the Charter Schools?  Contrary to popular belief, they do worse than the public schools.  Only 49% of the Charter School students graduate, and a mere 10% are prepared for college or a career.  For city schools preparedness is based on a score of 65 on the Regents exams.  In addition, according to Department of Education statistics, 75% of the New York City graduates that apply for CUNY colleges need remediation in reading and writing, and 40% of those drop out of CUNY after 2 years. These are not Charles Barron’s statistics; this is data collected and reported by the NY State Department of Education.  Check it out for yourselves!

Come on now – Enough is Enough!  Bloomberg and Walcott have clearly failed our children.  Mayor Bloomberg boasts about being a great manager – how can you be a great manager and choose three Chancellors that are unqualified to run our education system.  Klein, Black and Walcott, all needed waivers due to a lack of qualifications.  How do you raise standards for our children and dumb down standards for Chancellors.  We need an open search for a qualified Chancellor who does not need a waiver – but more importantly we need to end Mayoral Control.

Join Assemblywoman Inez Barron, Councilman Charles Barron, other Elected Officials, Parents, Education Activists, Community Leaders, and the Freedom Party in our fight to end Mayoral Control of the Department of Education.  Assemblywoman Barron is developing the legislation and seeking a Senate sponsor to end Mayoral Control.  Let’s build a mass movement of support to end Mayoral Control.  We can win!  Movements and protests do work – just ask Cathie Black!


Anonymous said...

During the 1930's many in the British Parliament considered Winston Churchill a war mongerer and an alarmist. They blew off his rhetoric and called him a crazy. Mr. Baron suffers the same result by the NY media. He is absolutely correct regarding the Bloomberg/Walcott education policy. Kudos to Baron and Inez.

in a quandary said...

Excellent idea; now let's make it happen!