The way education is being treated by mayors in large urban centers–as though it is a political pull-toy–is so objectionable to me that just reading this type of article ties my stomach into knots.
The article above, from the NY Times‘ On Education column, has the following headline:
Curtailing a Service That Parents Depend On
Within the lines of this piece, columnist Michael Winerip says,
This year, one of the mayor’s most worrisome proposals — and I mean “worrisome” in the sense that he has thousands of blue-collar and poor parents very worried — is to cut back the city’s after-school programs.
Currently, New York finances enrichment programs that run from 3 to 6 p.m. at 454 sites, serving 53,000 elementary, middle and high school students and costing $90 million; the proposal is to reduce that to 261 sites, serving 27,000 children for $71 million.This would save $19 million in a budget of $67 billion, or about a quarter of 1 percent.
Says author Marianne Williamson via Facebook:
The problem isn’t just in New York…it’s national. In Los Angeles, the gifted and talented program is being eliminated, as is all the funding for our prestigious academic decathlon team, which has won 12 national championships! Two entire weeks have been cut from LAUSD’s schedule in the last two years. CA has the worst teacher-student ratio in the nation, and the worst guidance counselor-student ration, and the worst librarian-student ratio. #50 out of 50.
Is this really what we want for American education? Do we want our cities to fail by creating a culture of failure in our schools? I worked in New York, I currently live in Los Angeles. I am mortified that such things are happening in these schools. And this is just a sample, I’m sure.
I am old enough to have experienced any combination of enrichment programs (and lack thereof), either as a young student, a teacher, a parent, a teacher educator, and just an interested citizen. My experience tells me that we cannot touch our educational institutions–especially K-12, where the foundations for life are laid–and expect improvement in our overall lot.
Our children are the ones who will lead our communities in less time than any of us would like to admit. Do we want millions of uneducated thirty-somethings across all our major cities planning for our retirement, determining if we really need social security, or caring if we can get around? Will we reap what we sow if we fail today’s students?
Just something to think about…
It’s time to take education out of the political arena and establish it as a sacred artifact to be treated with ultimate respect, never to be used as a token of leverage by political parties or government legislative branches.
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