Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pre-K Needs to Be in a Real School, Led by Real Teachers

Considering the Daily News expose of conditions in pre-K facilities, Mayor Bill de Blasio ought to reconsider how universal pre-K should be run. In fact, there's little reason why pre-K ought not to have the same controls, if not more, than existing city schools. There ought to be certified teachers--UFT teachers--in every room.

This article is a great argument against the for-profit corporate education mentality that has infected our collective psyche. Around the country, we offer kids all sorts of third-rate options. There are charters where our children are trained like little martinets, and cyber-charters that collect all sorts of money for kids who may or may not avail themselves of the so-called services they provide.

For our youngest and most vulnerable children, we need more than some half-assed plan to overload the already overloaded and substandard services that are now available. We need to find sufficient space to treat these children better than the million-plus children already attending public schools. We need to find better facilities than those described in the News.

If UFT is paying attention, it will serve not only the union but incoming children by insisting on very high standards. If this is to be the new introduction to school for four-year-old children, it behooves us to make them happy and motivated. We won't achieve that via the Common Core crap we've been shoving down the throats of our older children. Let John King eat rigor and grit for breakfast if he so desires. His kids go to Montessori schools where they're treated as individuals, and our kids deserve no less.

On this day when we're dumping one of the crappiest contracts imaginable on not only our members, but likely those of other unions as well, let's take a new direction and try to do something good for someone. Let's insist our children get quality pre-K, and let's be as demanding of de Blasio as his convoluted junk-science evaluation system is of us. Let's insist that the city add more than the 12 inspectors it now proposes to ensure our children are well-treated.

Let's make sure our children get the same treatment that John King, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Andrew Cuomo would demand for their own children. If they're not prepared to offer us that quality, it's one more reason, and a very compelling one, they're not suited to serve our children.

Our kids can and should play make-believe if they like. Let's demand more of our elected leaders.
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