The saga of how Klein is planning to spend the CFE dollars is a classic!
After intense negotiations the Governor and the State legislature and a range of stakeholders from around the State agreed on a framework for the allocation of the billions of dollars of State funding … after fourteen years of litigation.
The folks at Tweed … did nothing, at least nothing that involved the public.
No public hearings, no consultation with elected officials, no consultation with parents, no consultation with advocates … they speak only to the gods.
For months parents and school advocates have been discussing a range of issues
Middle Schools: the crisis in middle schools has been with us for decades … early adolescence are difficult years, for kids and for adults. Yet dollars have been targeted for pre-K and early childhood and the massive infusion of funds into the creation of small high schools, not for middle schools. The Board of Ed, predecessor of the Board, has made a few rather half hearted attempts at reform. The recent John Hopkins research data is clear – we can predict dropouts as early as the sixth grade. The Department response: a range of interventions after kids are well on their way to dropping out of school. The City Council Middle School Task Force headed by NYU scholar Pedro Noguera is ignored.
Targeted Class size Reductions: Lower class size in targeted subject areas in targeted grades is not rocket science … except at Tweed. The assumption that the “threats” and “rewards” encompassed in the School Report Card will result in principals making the “right decision” is foolish. Principals and teachers work as hard as they can and a philosophy based upon a combination of merit pay and loss of tenure will not make them smarter.
The sans culottes , those simple folk that populate the city, after all, know nothing. They don’t have fancy degrees, they haven’t studied public policy at institutions of higher learning, they don’t read the research, they just go to work, try to earn a living and send their kids to public schools expecting that we will provide the best possible education.
The Klein Contract for Excellence plan is a charade — an attempt to slip around the law and continue doing whatever they want — including schemes such as Fair Funding and Pay for Student Performance.
If the coalition hadn’t intervened the Mayor wouldn’t have backed off … and Midwood High School, one of the finest high schools in the city would have lost over $800,000 in funding for the 07-08 school year!
Klein waited until school was out to hold public hearings on his plan – and held the hearings in unbearable hot school auditoriums – and lo and behold parents and teachers flocked to the meeting and assailed the plan.
As the clock ticks toward the sunset of mayoral control opinion makers in the city are beginning to have second thoughts and Klein continues to be Bloomberg’s worst enemy.