BY ARTHUR GOLDSTEIN
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Sunday, May 24th 2009, 4:00 AM
As a teacher in an A-rated school, I believe mayoral control has been an absolute disaster.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our federal and state governments have checks and balances so no one person has total control, which is a synonym for dictatorship.
City kids need reasonable class sizes and decent facilities. Under Mayor Bloomberg, class sizes just took their biggest leap in 10 years.
Some people say class size doesn't matter, but even the best teachers can give more attention to 20 kids than 34. The fewer kids I have, the more individual attention each one gets.
Under this mayor, charter schools get the best of everything, including small classes and new technology.
My high school was built to hold 1,800 but enrolls 4,450 students. My kids sit in a crumbling trailer, with no technology and often no heat in the winter. So much for efficiency.
The mayor says it's his way or "the bad old days." That's a false choice. We need a system that works better than what we have.
We need a chancellor who works for the kids, not the mayor. The chancellor needs to fight for what's best for kids whether or not the mayor agrees. He can't do that if the mayor can fire him for not following his orders.
A few years ago, the mayor fired two members of the Panel for Educational Policy who had the nerve to disagree with him.
Consequently, the PEP is a mayoral rubber stamp. No mayoral appointee dares to stand up for kids.
This mayor boasts about accountability. Teachers are accountable. Principals are accountable, but the only time the mayor is accountable is once every four years.
That's not enough, particularly for a man who is prepared to spend $100 million to buy reelection and who scoffed at the voters by changing the term limits law they twice affirmed.
Four more years of this system guarantees the privatization and destruction of public education in New York City. That's a prospect we should all oppose.
Arthur Goldstein teaches English as a Second Language at Francis Lewis High School in Queens.
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Bloomberg's School Dictatorship Challenged
From Arthur Goldstein, writing in the Daily News: