When I moved back to New York with my school-aged kids four years ago I was worried about throwing them into the New York City public school system. All they knew was their progressive private school on the westside of LA.
Instantly, however, they flourished at P.S. 87. I love the school. The teachers are, across the board, involved and caring, and the other parents have all really pitched in to make the school a model for the city.
Now, four years later. I'm worried.
In June our visionary principal was lured away by a charter school and the unprecedented incoming kindergarten classes will bloat the class sizes of the rest of the grades.
To combat unwieldy class sizes my school and many others have, for years, relied on parent-paid teacher's aides.
Now Bloomberg has caved to the teacher's union and is forbidding us to hire them anymore. I understand wanting everyone who comes in contact with our children screened and regulated but this idea is a lousy one. As the Times wrote today:
"The system was so successful, according to parents, that it evolved into a training ground for future teachers: At least half of last year's assistants had graduate degrees in education and New York State teaching licenses. In recent years, 10 former assistants have been hired as teachers at P.S. 6.
School administrators said that hiring union members not only would cost more, but would also probably bring in people with less experience; the typical paraprofessional does not have a four-year college degree."
Bloomberg's high-handed, one-size-fits-all fiats might be good for raising the standards of the city's worst schools, but he's failing it's best ones.
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