Every day, I traveled between the two New York Cities. I watched kids from my neighborhood who were just as smart, just as talented and just as deserving as those at Stuyvesant get left behind again and again because they weren't afforded equal opportunities to thrive.
In the name of indebted students, Governor Cuomo's plan to fund college credit bearing education programs in 10 New York State prisons was ditched within a month of his celebratory announcement. Now we're all left with nothing.
In writing the state budget, New York legislators totally capitulated to the billionaire-funded charter industry. The bottom line is that when billionaires talk, the New York legislature and Governor Cuomo listen. Actually, they sit up, bark, and roll over.
But de Blasio needs more ammunition. The incoming mayor should cast his eyes beyond the Hudson. While he boasted about a recent trip to Cincinnati, to check out their own civic experiment -- a gaggle of model community schools -- he made no mention of Tulsa, capital of early childhood innovation.
Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education are rushing to assure parents and school that these sub par grades will not reflect negatively on report cards, middle and high school admissions, teacher evaluations, and school ratings. But how can they not?
I saw talent at the Business of Sports School. With 56 graduates in its first graduating class, the school was founded just four years ago through a team effort lead by a wonderful educator and a personal mentor of mine, George Friedman.
President Obama gets it. Governor Cuomo gets it. Now, we need a mayor who recognizes the need for a game-changing overhaul of our schools that starts with getting early education right. Anything less, and we are leaving our kids behind.
Choice is a hallmark of our country. It is synonymous with freedom. We live in a country where we have choice in our leaders, our religion, our food, our housing, our lifestyles. Choice in education is not only necessary -- it is crucial for our country's future.
We must do everything in our power to increase education opportunity. Our goal should be nothing less than preparing every student who goes through our public school system for either college or readily-available career options upon graduation.
If there's ever a tangible physical reminder about the differences in education quality in a particular locale, it is found on the floors of a school building on West 134th Street in Harlem. Literally on the floors.
Increasingly privatized education -- with charters, consultants and competition -- offers more opportunities for investment and profit-making. Its proponents have a special and vested interest in the policies they promote.