Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

As of today, our esteemed Mayor4Life was to finally get his wish--soft drinks over 16 ounces would be banned in much of the city. Alas, a state court has declared the law arbitrary and capricious (ironically, the very same standard he wanted to use to fire teachers).

Mike Bloomberg had determined that 17 ounces is just too much, and since he's the richest guy in the city, the man who'd bought Gracie Mansion fair and square (except for that third term), he figured he had the right to tell you just how much Sprite you can have in one sitting.

The problem, of course, was that if you want another Sprite badly enough, you could have just left that restaurant and go next door to the 7-11, which for some reason wasn't covered.  I suppose, if that were too much effort, you could even have bought a second one in the same place.

I didn't envision black market Big Gulp Sprites popping up around the city anytime soon. Unlike this mayor's ludicrous education initiatives, this one wouldn't have had much lasting effect. In fact, New Yorkers could still go to a supermarket, buy a two-liter Coca Cola for 99 cents, and sit on the corner and chug the whole thing. I don't imagine they'd have dragged folks away in handcuffs for that. Of course, with zany madcap Mike Bloomberg, who really knows?

If Bloomberg really wanted to put his money where his mouth was, which is pretty much everywhere, he'd stop making ridiculous arbitrary meaningless mandates and do something to address his signature issue, to wit, education. You may or may not know that Michael Bloomberg sent his kid to a private school with class sizes that did not exceed fifteen. Just to show I'm not always critical of this mayor, I'll freely admit I think that was a great decision.

As a teacher, I can reach more kids when class sizes are smaller. I can give more attention to those who need it. I can allow kids who wish to talk to do so, and there is more engagement as a result. Classes can be more productive and interesting when kids get more input. I think it's a wonderful idea to keep class sizes to fifteen.

But since sixteen is the mayor's magic number, I'm willing to compromise. Let's not have Mayor Mike lose out altogether, but rather do something neither arbitrary nor capricious.  Let's make class size sixteen, just shy of half what it is now. There will be no cheating under this system. No teacher will sneak around and try to add more kids, because every teacher knows he or she can do better with fewer students. No one likes a class with kids sitting on windowsills, where desks are piled atop one another and cheating is the national pastime even when kids don't actually wish to do so.

If Michael Bloomberg gives a golly gosh darn about our children, he'll stop making ridiculous inconsistent unenforceable rules about soft drinks, and give them something truly valuable instead. He'll give them an option to learn with public school teachers, the city's best, in reasonable class sizes. Then, he'll have a legacy.

What he has now, I'm not sure. But whatever it is, I wouldn't feed it to my dog.

Related: Glass Size Matters
blog comments powered by Disqus