The folks at Tweed are all caught up in the whirlwind of the “next big thing.” All 1450 schools will have to select a new management system: the third, or is it the fourth reorganization in the Klein era. The methods by which funds are allocated to schools will change dramatically, in spite of criticism that the formula is untried and will have dire consequences for many schools. Principals and schools will be evaluated in a new School Progress Report that impossible to understand. The “backroom” operations will also be totally overhauled and rumor has it that the Department is also reorganizing the way Special Education services are provided to students.
For parents their number one priority is not the avalanche of “reform,” but, simply, can you keep my kids safe.
The answer is clearly, “No.”
The Department’s revision of student bus schedules in the middle of the winter has been a disaster. Thousands of children left standing on street corners day after day as Tweed fumbled the ball again and again. The leadership by fanfare hailed twenty-million dollars in saving, or is it five million, or did it actually cost more? We’ll have to wait for the next administration to dig out the Augean stables.
When the NYDaily News investigated real or imagined abuses on school buses the Department tried to cover up and finally blamed and fired a low level administrator.
The recent riot at the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) high school basketball finals was especially distressing. New York City Public High Schools have a proud history of producing great basketball players. Teams provide opportunities for many of our kids to win scholarships and earn a college degree. Teams unify a campus. Cheer leaders, kids rooting for their team, it’s part of the high school experience.
Over the last few years high school basketball has been corrupted as the Department ignores PSAL coaches who are also salaried AAU coaches and paid representatives of sneaker companies. When a fight erupted at a Robeson-Jefferson game the Department ended Robeson’s season and forced Jefferson to default on some games. Why punish the kids for the inadequacy of school leaders and/or coaches?
Why did the Department schedule the PSAL championship game for a Sunday night? Why did the Department allow the Garden to publicly sell tickets? The Department expected a few thousand kids and over 13,000 tickets were sold. Did “heads roll” at the Department? Of course not, their response was: we won’t schedule any more night games? (NOTE: Almost all PSAL games begin at 4:30PM).
If the plutocrats at Tweed can’t keep our kids safe what can they do?
Increasingly Tweed announcements on the “next big thing” sound like the announcements from the Bush White House.