So, it may seem as if I'm a little late to the punch, seeing as this NY Times article was posted exactly a month ago, but I'm going to comment anyway. Yes, now that Eric and I are both school teachers in public schools (and dues-paying members of the United Federation of Teachers), I have been paying more attention to news about education. And this story takes the cake for "outrageous" and "idiotic."
In our monthly union meeting yesterday, it was mentioned that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning on cutting more money from the education budget this coming fall. Basically the equivalent of at least three full-time teachers' salaries per school in the whole district (14,000 schools).
This is in addition to the budget cut he already executed, coincidentally, on the first day I started my new job. That cut was a surprise attack. Since all the schools are linked and receive their budgets through the city, the city can go in and take funds whenever they want. And that's exactly what happened. The budget cut was authorized, happened overnight, and the next morning, payroll secretaries and the like checked their computers to find that money they had already accounted for and/or spent was gone. Oh wait, it wasn't a total surprise. Schools received an e-mail the night before, notifying them that the money would be gone in the morning.
My favorite quote from the article is this gem: "Mr. Bloomberg, speaking on Thursday at Google’s offices in Chelsea, said the cuts would have 'no impact whatsoever,' adding, 'I know of no organization where you couldn’t’ squeeze out 1.7 percent, or even a lot more.'"
Sure, if you are a company who can raise prices, lower quality standards, or do whatever it has to do in order to sustain itself after a cut like that. But schools don't make a product, they educate students. So maybe each school should tell 1.7 percent of its students they can't go to school there anymore?