Today’s news:

Bloomberg, Klein must stop running schools like businesses

City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein sits as chairman on the board of directors of the Eli Broad Foundation. Eli Broad is a billionaire and philanthropist who wishes to throw a lot of money at schools — not just public schools. He believes in the privatization of schools and that schools must be run like businesses in order for them to succeed.

What many do not realize is that charter schools do not accept many of our English Language Learner students and students with the most severe learning disabilities. In other words, the students most in need of smaller class sizes and extra help will not get it. So once a school is able to cherry-pick its student population, that school is ensured success.

The charter schools are also sharing spaces in the same buildings with public schools. This has created conflict between the staff, parents and students of both types of schools, who are forced to share classrooms, gyms and lunchrooms with each other, demanding more space from others.

Many of the charter schools operating in and around the city are run by businesspeople and most of their staffs are brand new teachers often recruited by the “Teach for America” and “Teaching Fellows” programs. These teachers are often from out of the state and do not intend to last more than a few years. This is fine for those in charge of charter schools because high turnover keeps labor costs low.

This also seems to be the goal in non-charter schools. As any educator will tell you, a high-turnover of staff is detrimental to that school. And all new teachers need mentors who are our veteran teachers — those same teachers our chancellor has made it his mission to remove from our public schools through his abusive policies.

To proliferate the opening of charter schools, Klein takes resources away from neighborhood public schools, sends students to those public schools who were not accepted at charter schools and after a while deems neighborhood schools as failing and slated for closure. There actually is a method to the madness.

As mayor of New York City and the person ultimately in charge of our schools, shouldn’t Bloomberg have done everything in his power to protect and improve our existing schools as opposed to allowing private investors to take control? And is it not a conflict of interest for a schools chancellor of a public school system to sit on a board of directors for a foundation determined to undermine public education?

Angelina Ruggeri

Fresh Meadows

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