Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mayor Mike Helps His Peers

Juan Gonzalez, my absolute favorite Daily News columnist, has just weighed in on Mayor Bloomberg's plan to make sure no Dalton School rich kid got left behind. After all, the mayor's kids attended schools like this, and it's his job to make sure that his kids' kids have the best facilities money can buy, even if it means the bootless and unhorsed have to pony up.

Otherwise where will those poor rich kids ride their ponies?

Under the deal, one that Parks Department officials quietly negotiated during the past year without soliciting bids, 20 of Manhattan's richest private schools will have exclusive use every weekday afternoon for the next 30 years to more than 50 new and refurbished athletic fields at Randalls Island.

That's an average of three fields each per private school.

Meanwhile, thousands of poor and working-class students who attend 58 public schools in nearby East Harlem must make do today with eight neighborhood baseball and soccer fields for all of their after-school sports.

And one of those fields, at 96th St. and Second Ave., is slated to disappear as a staging area for construction of the Second Ave. subway line.

Parks officials see nothing wrong with giving rich private schools enough new "public" fields for them to schedule several games per day, while the East Harlem schools will be lucky to find a free field a couple of times a month.

The callousness and cynicism of this administration defies belief. What's really incredible, though, is how the public jumps hook, line and sinker for "reforms" that do nothing whatsoever to aid the public school system.

Thanks to Patrick and Schoolgal

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