"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bloomberg Slashes School Funds But Not Consultants

From the NYTimes:

Principals across New York City turned on their computers Thursday morning to discover that because of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s new budget proposal, their budgets had been slashed overnight by sums ranging from $9,000 to $447,587. And they reacted with unvarnished fury, while frantically scouring for places to cut spending.

One principal, Steven M. Satin of Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan, sent a protest by e-mail to the deputy schools chancellor in charge of finances, calling the cuts “an outrage and a disgrace and a slap in the face to everyone given the task of providing the best education we can for our students.” He forwarded his message to colleagues, and they in turn shot back replies ranging from outraged to scornful to sardonic.

“Might they also consider reducing what they pay in no-bid contracts for testing, ARIS, and any number of consultants living large on the backs of our students,” a Brooklyn principal wrote. “How much more do NYC public school students and their families have to give up?” ARIS is the acronym for an $80 million computer system that is used to compile and analyze student test scores and other data.

The e-mail messages were provided to The New York Times by a principal who wanted to show the depths of anger among principals but who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by the Education Department or colleagues. In another sign of discontent, the principals’ and teachers’ unions, joined by elected officials, took to the steps of City Hall on Thursday to denounce the cuts. And in interviews, principals said they were carefully weighing what was expendable.

Asked what he would cut, Barry M. Fein, the principal of the Seth Low Intermediate School in Brooklyn, responded, “My throat.” . . . .

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