Photo credit: @julesdwit.
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Governor Cuomo speaking to charter school advocates in Albany
Capital New York reporter Jimmy Vielkind discusses the New York State budget wrangling as the April 1 deadline to pass a budget approaches - including funding for charter schools and universal pre-k.
As someone who had to scale up small projects to large scale nationwide interventions, I do not understand the over the top rhetoric around charter schools. You can throw lots of money at small projects, many will fail and some will succeed. The only benefit of engaging in these small projects is to figure out if you can scale these up to meet the needs of the larger population. Sometimes this means making adaptation to other environments and sometimes it means capitalizing on economies of scale.
Quite frankly, in the tours of over 40 schools and who knows how many brochures that have flooded our mailbox from the time of nursery school to my son's acceptance into Bronx science, I have seen very little in the way of truly innovative new ideas. It was mostly buzzwords. I have also not seen any solid evidence that the successful charter schools have done anything other than to add to the "race to the top" escalation of weeding out "undesirable kids".
When I was a child in California we had "tracking" not based on income because we pretty much were all lower middle class in my neighborhood, but on skills. That system was discredited, but I have to say that the class distinctions and the sorting process in New York City is so vastly more bureaucratic and entrenched than anything I could have ever envisioned that it still leaves me stunned. Portfolios, essays, interviews, letters of recommendation, watered down school-specific tests (some schools merely copy old SHSAT tests -- which my son spotted), grades, standardized tests ..... its a nightmare that doesn't really benefit kids.
Everyone just focuses on the tests, but what about the lost time spent running around to a ridiculous number of schools every time there is a transition from one level to the next? They say attendance counts, but then they allow exceptions to go visit schools - which means at least 10 days missed if you believe the counselors who insist your kid will get waitlisted if you don't apply to a huge number of schools.
OK then use the tax dollars from a SLIGHT tax hike on the very rich to fund infrastructure improvements.TAX THE RICH!!!!!!
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Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
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