Bloomberg to parents: butt out!

See the recent Bloomberg interview in The Villager:

Bloomberg said parents need only be involved in the micro issues of their child’s education, like the child’s attendance, behavior and grades. It does not make sense for parents to be involved in larger issues like overcrowding, because those issues take years to resolve, Bloomberg said.

“When you’re talking about siting schools, you’re not talking about parental involvement,” he said, “because the process from deciding you want to build a school, siting it and building it and moving your kid in, your kid’s going to be through graduate school by that time.

Surely they would be in graduate school if we left it up to the Department of Education.

"These things don’t happen overnight. You’re talking about a different group of people who want to have some input: community activists. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not parents.”

No, actually it has been parents who have been forced to work and to work hard, finding sites, pushing the DOE, and lobbying their elected officials over and over again to ensure that there is enough space so that their kids can have decent class sizes, art and music, and can attend neighborhood public schools.

Parents have been forced to site every new school in Manhattan over the past eight years, and many schools throughout the city, because of the incompetence and disinterest of the Mayor and his appointees at the DOE. We’ve had to do our own enrollment projections as well, since the high priced consultants hired by the DOE seem unable to figure out that the rising birth rate and the development boom throughout the city, unleashed by the Mayor's policies, might actually lead to more children needing a seat in a public school.

He continued, “Parent involvement should not be parent control. We have professional principals, administrators and teachers — experts. They should design the classroom.”

That’s why there are few if any educators in control at DOE?

Bloomberg then described the improvements he has made in sharing information with parents about their children’s performance and their children’s schools, including parent coordinators, school report cards and surveys.

But what’s the point of those surveys, if they have no effect on what goes on in the classroom? Every single year, parents say in the DOE surveys that their top priority is smaller classes, yet every year the Mayor and the Chancellor violate state law by refusing to reduce class size.

This is not new. The Mayor has repeatedly expressed his disdain for the views of parents and their right to have a voice in how their children's schools are run. See this story from the NY Post in May : “Bloomie to school parents: back off!”

“Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that parents should butt out of trying to dictate educational policy as the debate over mayoral control of the schools intensifies. "You do not want parents setting educational policy. You do not want parents telling teachers how to teach. Teachers would not be happy about that," Bloomberg said on his WOR radio program. "That's what you have professionals for," he added. …”

Why? Perhaps because he knows that despite all his billions, he cannot buy our silence, or our support.

See also letters in response to Bloomberg's comments from parent activists Tina Schiller and Tricia Joyce in the Downtown Express.
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