2002-07-06 / Editorial/Opinion

‘Minimally Adequate’ Is Just Not Good Enough

â018Minimally Adequate' Is Just Not Good Enough

The state's appellate court has spoken to New York City and what it has to say is disconcerting to every educational professional and parent in the city. In a recent decision overturning a landmark lower court decision that said New York City's schools are not being adequately funded, Justice Alfred D. Lerner said that Albany is required only to "provide a minimally adequate educational opportunity," and not "some higher, largely unspecified level of education, as laudable as that goal might be." Lerner argued that the lower court judge had gone too far in saying that schools must prepare students for jobs somewhere between low level service jobs and the most lucrative careers. "The proper standard should be the ability to support oneself," Lerner wrote. "Society needs workers in all levels of jobs, the majority of which may very well be low level." He also wrote that the physical standard for school buildings should be "buildings that provide enough light, space, heat and air to permit children to learn." We wonder what Lerner would say if somebody said similar things about the schools that his children of grandchildren attend? We are sure that he would not. What Lerner wants to do is to sentence the majority of New York City students to a life of McDonald's or Burger King. That is not satisfactory to us, to parents, to educators, or to anybody else involved with the city's schools. People such as Lerner live in a vacuum. They seldom have to experience the detritus left from their lofty decisions. Minimally Adequate is not good enough. Not for our city. Not for anybody.

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