New NYS Budget and a Report on Diversifying Construction

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ester Fuchs, professor of public affairs and political science and director of the urban and social policy program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and former adviser to Mayor Bloomberg, looks at the new New York State budget deal that was reached over the weekend. Plus, she discusses a new report that details a successful apprenticeship program for minority youth to learn construction trades in NYC. Fuchs explains why it's vital to help minority kids access these solid middle-class jobs. 


Ester Fuchs

Comments [25]

tsol from Brooklyn

How in the world does a woman with a heavy Noo Yawk accent spoken with an adolescent girl's "uptalk" get to be a professor at Columbia as well as commentator on WNYC? She sounds like she runs a nail salon in Long Beach.

Plus, how does a conversation about the construction industry and race ignore the presence of illegal immigrant workers?

Mar. 31 2014 11:03 AM
Scott from Soho

We learned on Fridays show that charter schools educate kids at the same level if not better than public schools while operating with 30% less funding. This alone should have the entire audience questioning how our public schools are managed. If the public school system operated like a charter school they would have an extra $6,000,000,000.00 to help improve educational results.

As usual, the Brian Lehrer show will not ask WHY charters appear to be more efficient and garner better results. Instead you continue to focus on these evil rich people who have written checks to help educate kids. Great job.

If you want more funding for the public school system start by taking a look at the comptrollers website showing a small number of blatant fraud and waste that goes hand in hand with our city government. I believe the first page shows over $100,000,000.00 in fraud and overpayments.

Mar. 31 2014 10:51 AM
Katherine from Brooklyn

I've never heard of the construction industry's apprenticeship program, but I'd like to know whatever happened to vocational or technical schools. Are there any? Apparently, Esther Fuchs doesn't know or it might have become part of the discussion.

Not everyone can or should go to college. Where do kids who want to learn a trade go now? Why should the only way to get a job in construction be through a (privately run?) apprenticeship program? Where do plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and other tradespeople get their training? These used to be, and I imagine still are, good jobs that pay well.

Mar. 31 2014 10:43 AM
RJ from prospect hts

You didn't address the fightback from the developers who resist affordable housing.

Also, one of the reasons that small jobs in the outer boroughs are nonunion is because many of the people who need work done do not make enough to pay unionized firms. It's a vicious cycle with the inequality gap--if you can't make enough at low-wage jobs, you can't make enough to either find affordable housing and/or to have unionized fixes.

Mar. 31 2014 10:31 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Oh, thank you caller for checking the omniscient whitewashing. To solve the problems we must tell the stories right...

Mar. 31 2014 10:28 AM
Robert from NYC

Let him have it. Where are these black workers working? What jobs to they have? Yeah, entry level. No No No, More Baloney. Of course they're less represented at the highest levels. Stop the baloney and turn it on the unions. What crap, Bloombergism lives.

Mar. 31 2014 10:26 AM

"Market Leninism"

Surely that will scratch the affluent Ms. Fuchs' itch to be of use during her excess leisure time.

Mar. 31 2014 10:26 AM
Matt Nyc

Pfew, terrible segment, what a skewed view of charter schools. Ester Fuchs confused public and private funding for charter schools. Private donations are not public - taxes are public and contribute to public schools. Private funding of charter schools will dry up and leave the public holding the bag for charter schools that have become "a permanent part of the landscape."
It doesn't have to be this way. Corporations should shoulder their share of taxes. It's hard to believe this guest heads a university program. But it's not surprising, considering how irrelevant academics are in any sort of public discussion.

Mar. 31 2014 10:24 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Yes, the NYC public schools system was one of the best, if not THE best large-city system in America.

Has anyone ever researched the roots of the decline? Obviously, it ties in with the decline of cities in general and NYC in particular in the 70's and beyond.

Remember the results of the "politicalization" of the city schools around 1968, when the Board of Ed largely ceded control to local school districts?

Each school districts became fiefdoms and corruption went rampant. And the kids and schools became instruments (victims) of people with political axes to grind. Unfortunately, they ground the axes on the schoolchildren.

Great, experienced, and dedicated teachers & administrators were fired, because they didn't fit the districts' new model.

Sure there were lousy & lazy teachers too just as in any profession, but for the most part they were of a high level. And although having teachers that "looked like" the kids is a laudable goal, they did it whole hog instead of over time, and our schools and kids are still seeing the effects.

An example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Mar. 31 2014 10:23 AM

"This requires the Mayor to get on top of this right away."

Uh, oh.
Somebody wake him up, it's 10:30.

Mar. 31 2014 10:23 AM

"Am I my brother's keeper"?

Wasn't that the snarky, non-reply of the first murderer listed in the Bible?
I don't remember it as a moral proscription in the Judeo, Cristian, Islamic tradition.

Mar. 31 2014 10:21 AM
Guy from Nyc

This woman injects subtle pro"reform" agenda into all her comments. The problem with taking the Bloomberg administration policies as norm is that you ignore the fact he froze educators out and put people in charge with policy degrees and no deep educational experience. Of course the displaced Bloombergians are going to snipe from the sidelines.
Just because rich do gooders have money doesnt mean they should control public policy. Parroting the meme that the US wont be "competitive" is to buy uncritically into the hedge fund line. Fuchs tries to come off as neutral, but has she even mentioned the effects of poverty?
The problem with charters is they use public resources to undermine the public ed system when they are supposed to be laboratories for innovation. They have to be forced to be more than a hedge fund vanity project.

Mar. 31 2014 10:21 AM
Tina Suszynski from East Harlem

Comment for Guest: Love the discussion of construction training for youth of color. What about carpentry? the Carnegie Hall 990 (found for free on shows that two of the highest paid employees are unionized carpenters earning over $300K/annually. NYC public schools have such an intense focus on 4-year colleges, a whole host of other needed skills and training is ignored. It's not realistic to expect that college is the only viable, suitable and respectable path post-high school.

Mar. 31 2014 10:20 AM
kk from Brooklyn

I am listening to Esther Fuchs and she is maddening. She basically thinks it is OK for the superrich to dictate what happens in schools bc being a hedge fund manager is not spiritually fulfilling. Give me a break! She is absolutely wrong that the only way to fix a school is to close it. There have been other systems that have turned around schools by fostering strong administrative and teacher leadership and facilitating COLLABORATION between those parties and parents. The closing of schools is a punitive, top-down measure that does not address the root causes of "failure"--namely poverty and lack of social supports for families and children in need.

Mar. 31 2014 10:18 AM
fuva from harlemworld


Mar. 31 2014 10:17 AM

Great line by Prof. Fuchs-

"breaking the stranglehold of mediocrity in the public school system."

Mar. 31 2014 10:16 AM

Progressive? - a movement under Teddy Roosevelt to be sure; any relation to the policies and programs (e.g., "Prohibition") coming out of the Woodrow Wilson years?

Mar. 31 2014 10:16 AM
Tina Suszynski from East Harlem

Q for your guest:

Why isn't the NYC Fund for Schools part of the private sector's influence on the public discussion when asking whether it's good or bad to have the backing of hedge funds for charter schools?

Mar. 31 2014 10:14 AM
michael from Brooklyn

While the teachers have become progressively more and better educated the school results have suffered -
perhaps due to the quality of parenting ?

Mar. 31 2014 10:14 AM
fuva from harlemworld

What simplistic analysis of hedge fund promotion of school privatization/ de-unionization. Brian needs to provide critical feedback to flesh out this discourse...Charter schools pose risks in the wings for citizen-controlled schooling...And if hedge funds are in the mix WHY CAN'T THEY FUND LOCATIONS so these schools don't cannibalize the public school system????

Mar. 31 2014 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

You retrieve it by using it and screw (pardon my French) those who don't like it. Are you Liberal? Good!!

Mar. 31 2014 10:13 AM
Robert from NYC

Baloney. When it breaks you fix it. And how do you call making a profit off of it "altruism".

Mar. 31 2014 10:12 AM
art525 from Park Slope

This woman is awful. And that voice!

Mar. 31 2014 10:11 AM

Does the universal pre-K agenda include a mandatory attendance requirement for qualifying students?

Mar. 31 2014 10:04 AM

Does the universal pre-K agenda include a mandatory attendance requirement for qualifying students?

Mar. 31 2014 10:02 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.