Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html

FAMOUS INTERVIEWS

Directories:

SCHOLARSHIPS & GRANTS

HELP WANTED

Tutors

Workshops

Events

Sections:

Books

Camps & Sports

Careers

Children’s Corner

Collected Features

Colleges

Cover Stories

Distance Learning

Editorials

Famous Interviews

Homeschooling

Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater

Museums

Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month

Technology

Archives:

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

1995-2000


 
New York City
April 2001

Public Education Under Attack

by Stuart Dunn

Let there be no mistake, public education is in serious trouble. On the day after President Bush’s non-State of the Union address, the New York Times carried three separate articles (in addition to those on Bush’s address) on education entitled: Board Votes to Revamp Bilingual Education to Give Parents More Choice, High School Dropout Rate Rises, and Levy Fears New Test Will Bring Huge Surge, High Court to Hear After-School Evangelism Case With Wide Implications.

The President made education a focus of his speech, second only to tax reduction. He emphasized that his plan provides for additional federal funds for education, so as “to leave no child behind,” and annual testing to see how the schools are doing in spending this money. He made it sound like the funding he proposed, which he would turn over to the states with little federal control and which increases federal funding from seven to eight percent of the total public school budget, would somehow bring about a major change in student performance. While discussing his plan, he failed to mention that it calls for significant tax relief for middle-class parents of parochial school students and does little for poor parents. It seems that his real motivation is questionable.

Here in New York City, the School Board endorsed Chancellor Levy’s plan to provide parental choice for students who lack proficiency in English. While the plan is an improvement—parental choice is desirable —Levy’s plan would still leave too many students for too long in bilingual programs. The Chancellor revealed that the dropout rate jumped to 19.5 percent for the class of 2000 from 17.5 percent for the class of 1999. According to the Times, “the report suggested that many students were dropping out because they were demoralized by being held back,” and noted that, “tougher requirements may be too discouraging for some students.” Does the Times mean to imply that these policies should be dropped? Hopefully, not. These statistics do emphasize the magnitude of the failure of NYC’s public school system. The Mayor took the opportunity to renew his call for abolishing the Board of Education, instead of addressing the underlying issues.

And, just to round the day off, the Times reported that upstate in Milford, a religious group is suing for an evangelical club, lead by adults, to meet at the public elementary school. This kind of suit, coupled with the President’s aim to involve religious groups in social service and suggestions on relaxing the rules for federal financing to parochial schools, presages a major challenge to the Constitutional separation of church and state.

Meanwhile, the UFT and the City are stalled in contract negotiations, primarily over the issue of merit pay, and an excellent principal was lost at Bronx HS of Science due to Levy’s procrastination. The public education establishment, it would seem, prefers to fiddle while the public schools burn. Those who believe that public education is crucial to our democracy had better face the real challenges of educating our kids, because if we don’t, there soon won’t be much of it left.

 

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2001.




COMMENTARY
DIRECTORIES