Parents' Extra Costs

By Denise Matava Haffenden

Education Week
April 11, 2001

To the Editor:

Anthony J. Alvarado and Elaine Fink are obliged to defend New York City's Community School District 2, which they left for San Diego. While District 2 does well in testing, parents are keenly aware that students' needs are not being met. I'm glad to hear that Public School 198 gets Open Court, with a phonics bias, while the students in other schools don't. Is that why my child has trouble with phonics and can't spell, along with the rest of his classmates? (Or are they all "learning disabled"?)

And I find it interesting that, on the other hand, the district implements one type of math curriculum for all. Scores are above other districts', but have fallen in recent years, as more and more students are versed in this one-size-fits-all curriculum.

What is more interesting is that schools like PS 6 and PS 234 have parents who do heavy tutoring to supplement the lack of content their children get, and yet the district benefits from this outlay of money. Why does District 2 look so good? Because parents pay for content that their children don't get from the district. It's cheaper than private school.

Denise Matava Haffenden
New York, N.Y.

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