Thursday, July 20, 2006

For Public Schools, Less is More

Or maybe more is less.

It appears that in New York City's district 4, 82% of principals complain of overcrowding. What's to be done? Should you move the public school kids into the best facilities in the city?

Oops! The Chancellor already gave them to a billionaire. So what's the next best thing?

Let's see, there's that PS 109, over on E. 99th. That building just got landmark status, and the DoE had to spend big bucks to replace its roof. Unfortunately, that was the result of one of those nasty coalitions that also fought to stop its illegal demolition. Things like that don't sit seem to sit well with this mayor.

So, rather than create 1200 sorely-needed seats for public school kids, Mayor Mike has decided to simply use the building to make 65 apartments for artists. According to an email I received from Class Size Matters, NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said on NPR that the city needed artist housing more than schools.

That reminds me of GW's "Mission Accomplished" speech (over three years ago) and Cheney's quote about the Iraqi "insurgency" in its "last throes"(over one year ago). What year do you suppose Chancellor Klein is living in?

The email also stated that nearby PS 72 is now leasing space due to overcrowding, in a building that used to be a school before the city sold it. This, along with the deplorable overcrowding of other city schools, begs the question--is it wise to get rid of even more school real estate?

The chancellor, apparently, feels the problem will resolve itself if we simply ignore it long enough and ensure we have fewer locations for our kids.

As someone who works in a building at 250% capacity (and rising), I have to question that approach. Really, someone ought to let the chancellor know it's his job to advocate for kids, not artists (Perhaps that's just another of the pitfalls that come with hiring a non-educator cocktail-party devotee, squarely in the mayor's pocket, as chancellor).

For more info, go to Save PS 109, and check out the site of the folks who successfully stopped its demolition. They're now trying to see that it's utilized as intended.
blog comments powered by Disqus