Tuesday, May 14, 2019

NYC Should Run Its Own Schools

That's what David Bloomfield argues in the NY Daily News. Bloomfield says there ought not to be a state law determining how admissions are run in our specialized schools. He's absolutely right. Why on earth is the state making laws for New York City? The state's business is state business.

I haven't got a magic formula for working out the SHSAT mess. Bloomfield argues it ought to be phased in over time, and that third graders are now prepping for the SHSAT already. Maybe he's right, and maybe that's fair. I will say, though, that it's awful to make such young kids freak out over such a test. I hope there's some way we can make such things unnecessary.

Bloomfield's argument goes broader than just the SHSAT, if you ask me. I recall when our good friend John Flanagan pushed a bill to remove seniority protections for teachers in NYC. Not teachers in his district, mind you, because they could have voted against him, I suppose. The bill was only for city teachers. It's kind of beyond ridiculous that people who have no stake in our district can make decisions about it. While it's true that Bloomberg wanted this, he was clearly unable to get city legislators behind it. Of course, Bloomberg had all that money, so laws, rules and ethics don't apply to him.

More recently, there was a regulation passed the NYC would have to pay rent for charter schools it failed to approve. That's very tough for me to understand. For one thing, NYC had just elected a mayor who opposed charters. This would indicate that the people of NYC approved of that policy. Governor Cuomo, having taken various and sundry suitcases full of cash from charter enthusiasts, did not agree, Thus, the Senate and the Heavy Hearted Assembly voted to make NYC provide either space or rent for the likes of Eva Moskowitz.

This is how you overcome democracy. I'm a fan of democracy and I believe the voice of the people ought to be paramount. We've all seen what happened when the voice of the people is overridden. GW Bush becomes President. Donald Trump becomes President. Florida imposes what is in effect a poll tax on ex-convicts, as opposed to letting them vote, despite an overwhelming vote to allow them a voice. Closer to home, gazillionaire Michael Bloomberg bought himself a third term, despite voters not once but twice affirming term limits.

Still, democracy doesn't mean the people in Suffolk County get to select the representative who introduces bills that effect New York City. It ought to be the people who reside in New York City making those decisions. If the people in New York City want their children studying ways to get into Stuyvesant High School when they're only eight years old, let them have a referendum. If not, the city ought to figure out a way to admit its own kids to its own schools. The law is ridiculous, and if, as Bloomberg says, it's part of the mayoral control statute, let's look at that too. Why on earth is the state making statutes about mayoral control?

NY City has been around for a long time. It's old enough to make its own decisions, without the help of out-of-towners who presume to know what's best for us.
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