I'd like to observe that a side effect of being part of a pathological system is that one begins to see small victories as progress and to forget what a healthy system would be like.
As a citizen and a parent with many parent friends in the rest of America, I don't understand why I have fewer rights than they do when it comes to schools.
1. They have manageably-sized school districts. We could have one school district in each borough, completely independent from the other boroughs.
2. They vote for a school board. Talk about accountability! Instead of voters having to consider everything to do with city life, including schools, when they vote for a mayor, they have school board members who are voted in or out every 2 years on a rolling basis and they dump failures, dead weight and corrupt losers like hot potatoes.
3. They have a budget based on property taxes, for better or worse. If we had that in NYC, it would be better...especially considering we don't yet have borough-sized school districts. Given the astronomically high property values in Manhattan, we should have the best schools in the world. But no. We send all that money to NY State and they send it back.
4. They have the right to vote on the budget.
5. They have school board meetings where it is their right to speak. We have lost our constitutional rights, as "mere" citizens aren't even allowed to attend SLT meetings and parents must request permission to speak.
6. They have a right to see the budget. I thought I saw something somewhere that said I had a right to see that budget, but it's not on the web and in the school, it was chained to the copier. I wasn't allowed to copy it "because it has salaries in there." Hello? I thought school salaries were public information? The principal refused to let me have this information.
7. Some school districts even have transparent finances now...every CHECK that's written is on the Internet. At our local school, they had a RULE against paying for certain things with anything except cash. Now let's see...the reason for that might be....to make it easy to steal cash?
I have been told on more than one occasion that I am "just" a parent. But that's wrong. What I am is "just" a citizen who is required to pay taxes to support schools but who is not entitled to any say in how that money is spent and not even entitled to know how that money is spent.