2013-05-17 / Columnists

School Scope

Board Of Regents Fails
by Norm Scott

I was initially confused by an article in the May 3rd edition of The Wave (“Dispatches – Dr. Chapey Re-elected to Board of Regents”) written by Geraldine Chapey. My first thought was that we were exploring a new style of journalism where people write glowing news reports about themselves in the 3rd person.

Then I realized the story was written by Geraldine Chapey’s daughter, Geraldine Chapey. Phew! I was worried our journalistic standards were in danger. Opposite the article was a full page ad about the Chapey election to the Board of Regents by a joint session of those leading bodies of rectitude, the NY State Senate and Assembly, about to break the Guinness World Record for members indicted. It was a glowing full page ad praising Chapey on her re-election without attribution as to who took the ad out. I’m guessing that Chapey the younger also took out the ad in addition to writing the “Dispatch” piece.

I was quite impressed with the glowing educational background of Chapey senior, certainly excellent qualifications to be a Regent. Or maybe even Chancellor. She was even a past president of the District 27 school board from pre- Bloomberg mayoral control of the schools when the public was allowed to have some say. Though a system with a lot of flaws, with mayoral control coming up for renewal in 2015 and with almost all the candidates for mayor saying they want to continue the practice that is proving such a failure, some people are re-examining the old system to see if there was any basis for some local control of the schools that would not be tainted by corruption.

In her article, Chapey informed us that her mother “represents the 11th Judicial District which encompasses Queens and the Rockaways,” stating, “This is one more example of our recovery from Sandy.” Has the NY State Regents started rebuilding boardwalks? No one in the 11th Judicial District actually got to vote for their “representative” other than the political bosses in Albany.

The Regents, currently headed by Merryl Tisch of the famous billionaire family that also co-owns the NY Giants, oversees educational policy for NY State including the notoriously low-functioning NY State Ed Department now headed by anti-public school, pro-charter John King. King’s predecessor David Steiner was a scholar with a good rep – until he granted the notoriously unqualified Cathie Black a waiver so she could serve as Chancellor. Steiner left after two years, hiding his face in shame. The Regents supported the Black, Walcott and the Joel Klein waivers, which they all needed because they were not qualified. (Would love to hear where our local pols stood on these appointments.)

The NY Regents and their minions in the State Ed Department have been handmaidens to the blatant giveaway of large swaths of the public school system to billionaire hedge-fund backed charter schools who are free to dump any kids they don’t want back into the public schools. They have pushed one of the most insane testing regimen in the nation on the children and teachers, a regimen that some have called “child abuse.” The latest is the “Common Core” another bad idea pushed by the very same forces. Opposition to common core has come nationally from both left and right, a merging of Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

More than 150 schools have been closed by Bloomberg during his mayoralty including the only two large comprehensive high schools in Rockaway, part of the domino effect of undermining one school after another. When Far Rock was closed The Wave predicted that the overflow of kids rejected by the new small schools would undermine Beach Channel. Within a few weeks, BCHS had a semi-riot which many think was due to the movement of gangs across the peninsula. Where did Chapey stand on the numerous Rockaway school closings?

While many states are refusing to go along, Regents and State Ed have signed NY State on to the attempt to mine and possibly sell our children’s extremely personal data, an idea being pushed by the very same billionaires who are undermining the public schools. (See: http://nycpublicschoolparents. blogspot.com/2013/05/more-statesfall away-from-inbloom.html)

The decade-old educational policies of Bloomberg, the Regents and the State Ed Department have resulted in phony test scores as some schools “erase to the top” while others use any means necessary to try to assure high graduation rates, all to avoid being closed based on insane politically-driven criteria. The market-based, data-driven educational reform movement after more than a decade has proven to be a failure. Crowing about being a Regent must be accompanied by taking a stand. Hiding or straddling the fence by our local political leaders is no longer acceptable.

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