I've been a bit depressed lately. After learning about the new budget cuts, I had to begin talking about how to work around the cuts with my school's School Leadership Team. It's a scary situation for principals, teachers, students and just about everyone else in our school communities.
Last Monday, Bloomberg proposed a cut of of $324 million from NYC's education budget. He claimed that he was doing this as a healthy management exercise. He believes that it will force principals to examine the effectiveness of their programs and cut out the ones that aren't succeeding. Unfortunately because of the cuts, many principals are being forced to cut programs that work.
This comes on the heels of a cut by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who said he was giving city schools $100 million less than planned because of the economic problems we have been facing and will continue to face in the coming months.
As much as the Bloomberg-Klein Complex has been proven guilty of some shady motives, I think this decision might make some (albeit terrifying) sense. Combine the Spitzer cuts and the threat of recession and you have yourself a sizable cut.
As I've been learning in economics class, recession is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy and by not admitting that that is the real reason for the cuts, Bloomberg is fighting the recession. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but if the man knows anything, it's money. In addition, his statement about the cuts struck me to be a little phony, like he's hiding something.
This leads me to believe that an important part of of the edu-activist's work in the troubling times ahead is to look for solutions that are non-fiscal and maybe even non-political. We need a change in how we look at education issues, as I discussed in my post about the student's role in society, and how we can further improve relationships between the different constituent groups of our education system.
A good place to start is Queens student Ashu Kapoor's post on how her biology teacher effectively dealt with preparing students for the Regents. Check it out.
Cross-posted on the NYC Students Blog