The big and not so big city school districts are having an Albany "pep-rally" of sorts to support more state-aid for city school districts, including Utica's.
A spokesman from a pressure group claimed that "Children all over the state attend underfunded schools . . . " Utica Supt. Skermont, as usual, chimes in "The formula has to change; we can't wait any longer."
What brought about the current controversy is the 2003 Court of Appeals ruling "that schoolchildren in New York City weren't being given the chance to get a "sound, basic education," as required by the state Constitution," and order that the state figure out how much that would cost. More money would have to be funneled from the State to NYC Schools. Upstate cities, seeing that the same arguments in the NYC case easily apply to them, understandably are now jumping at the chance to get on the same gravy train.
Of course, the Court of Appeals' error was to assume a fact not in evidence: that insufficient funds was the cause of children in NYC not getting a "sound, basic education." What about the possibility that a "sound, basic education" is no longer of paramount interest to the people running our schools? Or the possibility that the people running our schools are simply incompetent?
While Ms. Skermont whines, she still allows precious student time to be wasted on such trivialities as Yoga and special assemblies with "community leaders." Down in Ilion the kids are kept busy climbing on special walls or making 1000 paper cranes (while being indoctrinated into certain forms of Politically Correct thinking). One mother (who also happens to be a special-ed teacher) who is campaigning for the extra funding was quoted as wanting more after-school programs like drama and music. Obviously, if the money is going to be used for after-school programs, then it will not be used to improve student learning during the regular school day. The unmistakable impression is that school systems only want more money to waste because that is what they've done with what they've already received. Is the Court of Appeals in the position to supervise how the additional monies will be spent -- to ensure that they go toward a "sound, basic education?" Of course, not.
As UpstateBlog.net recently reported, the connection between school spending and success is uncertain. Spending in NYC doubled over the past decade with no improvement in performance.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT A LACK OF MONEY, BUT THE LACK OF COMMITTMENT TO AND FOCUS ON "A SOUND, BASIC EDUCATION."
On another front . . .
A frustrated Ditto to the sentiments posted this evening [and since removed] on CNY Underground over the sorry state of affairs, both locally and in New York State, that drives people and jobs out of state. It's unfortunate when people have to leave the area to either better themselves or just to survive. While emotional posts don't solve problems, sometimes it is necessary for the powers-that-be to know just how strongly some feel about their actions or lack thereof. Maybe the piece can be reposted with a different choice of words -- but the depth of frustration needs to be conveyed.