Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Do the Children Play?

There's a question Cat Stevens used to ask over and over (before his interests wandered) and the answer has to be this--not in New York City.

Half of all schools have no place for recess, and minority communities, as usual, are hit the hardest. NY State Senator Jeffrey Klein doesn't want any new schools built without playground facilities, and doesn't want current schools filling yard space with other buildings. This would be a blow to the Bloomberg-Klein "reform" program, which has constructed entire schools out of trailers. Not only did they lack playgrounds, but they lacked gyms, cafeterias, science labs, and, well, everything that wasn't a trailer.

Clearly Mr. Klein, unlike his chancellor namesake, values things other than test scores. This is not the case over at Tweed, where they've turned over their state-of-the-art facilities to a failing charter run by a billionaire. You'd better believe that they're not sitting in some filthy trailer. Courtney Ross, who runs the charter, rejected another site before creating a big to-do at the NEST school, where the parents who'd built it up objected to a charter being dumped on them.

Kudos to Senator Klein for standing up for kids. Perhaps one day we'll have a mayor (or at least a chancellor) who will do the same. Or should we just forget about play and send our kids to work in tall buildings, like the ones in this song?


PS--because it's almost summer, I'm offering extra credit to anyone who can name the above singer/songwriter, his preferred instrument(s),or his most famous song.
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