Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another Broken Promise from Mr. Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg, who's pledged to build new schools to relieve overcrowding, has backed away from a pledge to rid New York City of classroom trailers by 2012. A representative from the school construction authority claims a lot of schools want them, and managed to muster a principal who called them "a delight."

"If I didn't have those four classrooms out in the schoolyard, I would have no art rooms, no science rooms," he said. "My preference would be if I had everybody in the main building, but I have overcrowding.

Oddly, that sounds more like desperation than an endorsement. It's as though Mr. Bloomberg bragged about all the things he'd done for us, and when pressed for specifics, said, "Think of all the flights of stairs I don't push you down." Of course trailers are convenient when faced with the alternative of rampant overcrowding. However, this mayor has repeatedly promised to relieve this overcrowding, and has consistently failed to do so.

Typically, there is no "accountability" for such failures.

I too appreciate the trailers, though I wouldn't go so far as to call them a delight. While the thermostats break, they're crumbling into dust, the bathrooms are filthy, puddles of water and sheets of ice appear on the floor, and there are fire extinguishers or screens on the window, they're better than nothing. They're also better than the new windowless unventilated classrooms that have begun to pop up in my school.

Another innovative space making method we've created is building walls through the center of on classroom to create two. Mr. Bloomberg can't be bothered with soundproofing, so you can hear every sound in the adjacent classroom. Also, there's not really enough space for 34 kids, so there are no rows, no circles, no semicircles, and no order whatsoever---just a mess of desks piled almost on top of one another. How on earth you give a test in these rooms without kids seeing one another's papers is a mystery I've been unable to unravel.

School advocates are concerned that construction plans appear to cut plans to build some new schools - one school originally budgeted for $31 million now has an impossible $1 million price tag - but Greenberger said that school is being funded in a different way and that all 63,000 planned seats will be built.

If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you (my email's on the upper right). It's remarkable that, after years of failing to deliver, Mr. Bloomberg's people have the audacity to make such preposterous statements and expect people to believe them. But if you read tabloid editorials, you know at least someone is buying it.

Under Mr. Bloomberg's benevolent leadership, my school has exploded to over 250%. There's simply no end in sight, and if my school's "grade" suffers, it will be the fault of the overcrowding (and not the teachers, actually). But ultimately, you'll see no "accountability" from this administration.

Their forté is passing the buck.
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