My theme for these six viewpoints is Imagine the Possible: Education NYC, and I find the band-aids nearly impossible to live with as our NYC children fail to dramatically improve in our schools, and where we realistically have no basis for expecting a dynamic shift in educational opportunities for our NYC children. So, I believe leaps are necessary and possible, and I want you all to Imagine the Possible as you read these six Viewpoints.
1. The Discussion is Charter Schools
Today’s NYC discussion is Charter Schools. They work and benefit children’s learning experience in most cases. Originally meant as experimental for public school modeling, they are now a business, and a political football. Although media exploits the current debates, the Mayor’s position is not anti-Charters, he has made choices. Success Schools have been successful. I say, for the children, you must work it out now.
2. Our Hidden Private Schools
The untold story of New York’s educational opportunities is not public schools v. charter schools, as charter schools are public schools, it’s public schools v. private schools. If you can afford them, you can assure the best education for your children. And that may run $50,000 per child per year for the top private schools. To me, that’s separate and unequal. And no vouchers allowed in this town, so no way out.
3. Imagine Excellence in Our Schools
Imagine excellence rather than equity as excelling in school would give our City’s children the best opportunity to succeed in their lives. That means a goal of 90% Graduation in ten years, and 100%, the decade after. Making a minimum wage in our Society, with rent and living, ensures you are on food stamps and Medicaid. That’s the result of equity, as Moynihan called it, “dumbing down our Society.” That’s not building the foundation for a “life of happiness.”
4. Expand Educational Governance
I believe in our Mayor, and yet the Bloomberg years convinced me that Mayoral control of education has not served NYC, our children and our parents. I would call for a move back towards a Board of Education, where the Borough Presidents have a say in the educational opportunities and choices for NYC’s children, and parents again have a say at Community School Boards. More representative, and transparent.
5. Children With Self-Esteem
Imagine if every NYC child believed in himself/herself from early childhood on, what a difference that would make. Self esteem trainings could be mandatory in early childhood education, providing the positive tools for their life. As the All-Stars Project says, performance is not just on stage, it’s about living your daily life, and this is happening in after-school voluntary programs. Let’s make it happen in school.
6. It’s a Human Rights Violation
It’s not good enough that there are excuses for the quality of education for children in NYC. Children must be given basic educational tools to compete in our society, and have the full possibility of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That is not happening in NYC public schools, and candidly I cannot even imagine why not. We must envision the possible, for we are limiting the lives of our children, and I consider that a human rights violation.