Addressing Education Issues

Letter to the Editor, the New York Sun
Re: "Tweed Takes Care of Teachers" by Andrew Wolf (Sep 26, 2003)

I am indebted to Andy Wolf for covering educational issues honestly. He is the only reporter, and the Sun is the only paper, that connects with a large portion of New York City parents who are negotiating the public schools.

As an employee of the Board of Education, I can attest that things are not being done for the benefit of children but rather to support the in-group of educrats. The ten people chosen as instructional leaders are all part of a group of educators that support whatever program they can get money for. They argue to the death in support of these programs simply because it enriches their pockets or their private agenda's.

District 2 parents have no school choice options within the district because it was a one size fits all proposal. That scenario will now fit the entire city except for the "top 200". That means school choice is now non-existent, since choice implies different options and this plan does not provide for that.

In addition, we will see more and more students being pushed out of the system for failure to succeed. The report put out by Advocates for Children in conjunction with the Public Advocates' office, documents this. I was in a school today testing students in special education who are given no special education supports and are in jeopardy of not gaining a high school diploma. When the school deems fit, these students will be "counseled" to leave despite the breach in the contract signed by parent and the school system. And these things are in the name of saving money. At this same school, students are regularly programmed for gym, but there is no gym and no gym program. Yet they accumulate credits for physical education. Does the school get money for a gym program, a gym teacher? If its not being used where is that money going? And more offensively, the students know they are not getting gym and yet get credit for it. What does that teach our students.

This is just one school, but the people picked as "instructional leaders" are part of what parents do not like about the system. Why are we going back to the same well to draw the water? Chancellor Klein had the opportunity to go outside the box, but instead he's keeping the same system in place.

Thanks again for focusing on education issues.

Denise Matava Haffenden
Manhattan High Schools
Educational Evaluator
New York

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