Streams

New Congressional Nominee Favors Subsidizing Private Schools

Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 07:42 AM

Happy first day of summer vacation, public school students, parents, staff, teachers and administrators. It's starting off hot, but the public pools will be open.

Speaking of hot, The Local news blog in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill raised the temperatures of some readers on Wednesday with a post-primary interview with Hakeem Jeffries.

Mr. Jeffries is the assemblyman who on Tuesday defeated Councilman Charles Barron for the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by United States Representative Ed Towns, who is retiring. At a post-primary news conference Wednesday, he was asked about something he said the night before: that he wanted to use public money to support private-school education. Did he mean vouchers, he was asked.

Hakeem Jeffries: I don’t support school vouchers. But I do think that the government can look at vehicles to alleviate some of the cost burden on parents who make a genuine legitimate decision that they want to send their children to a religious-based education, whether that is a yeshiva education, a Christian school or even a Muslim school.

There are parents of different religious persuasions, all of whom would like to see some measure of relief. It is clear that the government cannot directly support religious education, but the government, in a variety of ways can assist, as we have done with transportation or [scholarships]. There is a foundation for this.

Like what, he was asked in what became a lively back-and-forth with reporters. And that set off a lively response from readers. What do you think?

The school year ended with an alarming statistic, The Daily News reports:

New Education Department numbers released Wednesday reveal that schools called 911 a whopping 3,600 times during the last school year to deal with non-suicide-related mental health problems. That means that 17 students a day were sent to the emergency room with emotional problems.

The calls were more than a quarter of all 911 calls from schools.

As Rachel Monahan reports, many of the calls were for students with A.D.H.D. and other behavioral issues -- not the severe, life-threatening mental health issues for which such calls should be reserved.

“These schools don’t have the resources to deal with students who are either having a bad day or having issues going on,” said Nelson Mar of Legal Services NYC, Bronx, which is suing the city for more data on the problem.

End-of-year school-related events are winding down (as will First Bell after this week). But:

At 5:30 p.m., Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hosts a reception at Gracie Mansion in honor of the 2012 valedictorians and salutatorians.

Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott addresses the new graduates of the Pathways College Preparatory School at 9 a.m., Theater at York College, in Queens. At 11 a.m. he joins education leaders from around the United States for "A District-Led Movement for Excellence" announcement at the New York Public Library, in Manhattan, and at 5:30 will be at Gracie Mansion for the mayor's event.

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