2003-05-02 / Editorial/Opinion

The ‘Education Mayor’ Proves The Opposite

The ‘Education Mayor’ Proves The Opposite

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made the point over and over again that his mayoralty will rise and fall on what he does with the failing public school system. He has unveiled a stunning new school governance plan that may in fact impact favorably on the schools. At the same time, however, he has announced cuts that would do just the opposite, cuts that would so impact at-risk children that those cuts might just serve to be the proverbial final straw. We understand that Bloomberg has to make cuts in services in order to balance the city’s budget. Everybody understands that. What has dropped Bloomberg’s popularity to record lows and what puzzles many city residents is the fact that he is making the cuts while beefing up those organizations that collect parking fines and that check to make sure that nobody is smoking in local pubs. They find that ludicrous, and we would have to agree. Let’s take a look at some of the educations cuts that the mayor proposes. He would cut nearly 2,300 school aides, the people who keep order in the school’s hallways and cafeterias. Anybody who believes that they do not perform a vital function has not been in a school recently. He proposes to cut much of the summer school program, a place where failing kids are given their only "second chance." He proposes to cut library hours, just at a time when the library is probably the only place where kids can study and get Internet access for reports. He proposes to cut the mentor program, where new teachers get on-the-job training from experienced teachers. In a system that allows children to be disruptive without sanction, the mentors were often the only lifeline new teachers had to hold on to. Now, they will drown. It goes on and on. Cut after school programs, cut the Beacon Program, close school-based health clinics, cut youth programs, cut, cut, cut. It is time for the city fathers (and, mothers) to make a decision on education. As President Bush said when addressing the question of nations that are backing terrorism, there are only two options and those who do not choose to be against it are for it. Those who are not against the proposed education cuts are in favor of the demise of the public school system. It is as simple as that.

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