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

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bloomberg's Just In Time Kindergarten Inventory System Enrages Parents

With outraged parents planning to take to the steps of City Hall on Wednesday to protest the placement of hundreds of children on waiting lists for their neighborhood kindergartens, New York City Education Department officials scrambled on Tuesday for a solution. But as word spread of the leading plan — moving prekindergarten classes out of Public Schools 41 and 3 in Greenwich Village, and replacing them with extra kindergartens — the effort seemed to backfire, inflaming parents rather than placating them.

Andrew Jacob, an Education Department spokesman, acknowledged that officials were considering relocating the prekindergartens scheduled to open at the two schools but said “there hasn’t been any decision.”

But Cara Negrycz, a painter, said that at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, a P.S. 3 school official told her that her son would not be able to attend prekindergarten there because the program was being canceled to make way for kindergartners.

“They kicked the stool out from underneath me, and now I’m just hanging here,” she said. “I put this all on Bloomberg.”

Henry Sidel, whose son is on a joint waiting list for the two schools and who is president of a new group called Kids Shut Out, said the proposal “does not solve the overcrowding problem at all.”

“It still puts way too many kids in the same space and creates overcrowding in the older grades,” he said, “and it is just a last-ditch political maneuver by the Department of Education to make themselves look better at this moment where there is so much public outrage.”

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, whose district includes Greenwich Village, said that after she got word of the plan, she asked to meet with education officials to discuss the situation and express her “tremendous issues” with efforts to displace prekindergartners.

“I have a real issue with solving the kindergarten problem at the expense of prekindergartners,” she said. “We need to solve this in a more collaborative, collective way, not pitting one grade against the other.”. . . .

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