Monday, January 16, 2006

Bloomberg vs. Common Sense

Mayor Bloomberg likes to talk about his fervent desire to improve education. He hopes you'll ignore the facts that he has the lowest standard for teachers in NY State, that he's actively blocked votes on class size, and that he's proposed teacher contracts with no limits whatsoever on the number of kids in a given classroom.

One of Mayor Bloomberg's innovations is placing a parent rep in each school. In my school, for example, thare's one parent rep to somehow keep the school in touch with its 8,000 parents. Does that translate into a larger PTA, or better attendance at open school night?

It certainly doesn't for me. That's because the parents of my students almost invariably do not speak English. As adults, it's very tough for them to learn it.

Here's a great idea--let's provide translators for parents who speak the most common foreign languages in NYC schools. If more than one in three New Yorkers is foreign-born, and 43% of NYC's kids come from homes in which English is not the main language, this could certainly boost parent participation, one of Bloomberg's stated goals.

Oddly enough, Bloomberg, who claims to support this idea, opposes legislation that would achieve it. Not only that, but he's threatened to veto it, claiming it's a state issue. This is the same mayor who has no problem whatsoever defying labor laws until negotiations suit his convenience.

Actions speak louder than words, and this mayor's priorities are nothing if not transparent. If this were about a sports stadium for a billionaire, he's cut through the red tape faster than you could say "What about education?"

(Thanks to Schoolgal for pointing to this article.)
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