There's a federal program called Title 1 that's supposed to give support to kids who need it. Specifically, this is governed by how many kids in a given school are entitled to free lunch due to family income. I don't recall exactly how much it is, but last time I looked it was around 20K for a family of four.
But reformy Mike Bloomberg doesn't need no stinking rules, so he changes 'em. After all, if he didn't know everything about everything, why would he have all that money? So a few years back, Mayor Mike decreed that every school in the city needed to prove it had 60% of students eligible for free lunch in order to qualify for Title 1 funds. That's a big deal because another way Mayor Mike put Children First, Always is by relentlessly slashing their budgets.
However, in Staten Island, only 40% of students need to be eligible for a school to receive funds. Why? Who knows? Could it be because the PEP rep from Staten Island is the only one who tends to vote with Bloomberg's 8 rubber stamps when school-closing season comes around? Has the mayor got a girlfriend on the other side of the Verazzano who cares about public school kids? Who knows why Staten Island kids are needier than those in the rest of the city, and who dares question the mysterious and omniscient Bloomberg?
My Queens school qualified for Title 1 this year. While I won't celebrate that so many of our kids qualify for free lunch, I think it's great they will get extra help and tutoring. I think they should get more than that, but something, in my opinion, is better than nothing. But an administrator told me that funds were significantly lower than the last time we qualified.
I did a Google search, and found this. According to this DOE document, per-student funds are distributed thusly:
The average, according to the great minds at Tweed, is $1,068.31
So here's the question--why on earth are kids in one zip code any needier or deserving than those in another? Why is a kid from the Bronx more important than a kid in my class? Is that blatant, outrageous, and random discrimination?
I'm amazed that Mayor Bloomberg gets away with such nonsense. I would love him to come to our school and explain to our students why they are less valuable than kids in other boroughs, and why Staten Island deserves a lower threshold than the other boroughs.
But I will sit while I wait for Mayor Bloomberg to address us. No one knows better than I that being reformy means never having to say you're sorry.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.