Thursday, July 18, 2013

You Get What You Pay For - from a NYC Parent

A debate on the NYCEd listserve resulted in a teacher of all people joining the ed deform chant of "throwing money at things is not the solution" and that Bloomberg's failures in ed deform despite the expendutures is proof that money doesn't work. His solution is strengthening School based Support Teams. I won't go there now other than to say that I posted all the ways Bloomberg's spending was misspent on everything but supporting the classroom. Here, Vicki, a parent on the list serve makes so much more of an eloquent statement than I can.
You get what you pay for

Think about the money we spend on schools and "overpaid, overstaffed" union employees the next time you drive by one of those constructions sites.

You know, the ones your tax money pays for, maybe on second avenue. Two or three supervisors standing around chatting, one with a clipboard leaning against a wall, one guy just to hold up a sign. Three guys to watch the guy who moves the backhoe.

But we can have one teacher and 30 children in a classroom learning to read?

What do we say about starting a new business? Make sure it's well-capitalized.

What do we say about major corporations? They want to pay lower taxes because they need the money to invest in the business -- the best people, the best equipment.

What do we say about pharmaceutical companies? They need to charge higher prices so they can invest in R&D and hire the best employees.

What do people say about their cars, as evidenced by the 99% of cars on the roads in NYC that are late-model SUVS? We need top-quality transportation and it's worth paying for so we don't have dents in the door, chips in the paint, and so on.

What do we say about schools? Seventy-year-old buildings with PVCs leaking from the light fixtures are good enough for our kids. Libraries without books are good enough for our kids.

Inadequate gym facilities are good enough for our kids. Lack of indoor play space, and thus forced watching of Sponge Bob during recess (no books allowed in the auditorium!) during half of all schools days is good enough for our kids.

One teacher for every 30 kindergarten children is good enough for our kids -- oh, and let's "raise the standards" by skipping a developmental stage and force them to read in Kindergarten.

Kid, you say you want to blow your nose? Well tell you mother to send some tissues.

School supplies? Paper staples notebooks pencils pens? Ask your mother.

My parents went to school in the 30s and 40s when there were plenty of immigrants and plenty of social problems in NY. Their parents had no cars and often scrimped to pay the rent.

Yet their high school had a pool and Latin and handwriting and physics and a football team and everyone graduated knowing who Charlemagne was. We still don't offer more than 2 years of history in all of the 12 years our kids spend in school.

--Vicki

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