Over the last few years I was critical of the Board of Education (“Board”) and Superintendent Williams for their continuing and remorseless neglect of our public school children.
I sought to shame the Board for its functional paralysis and inability to implement change necessary to deal with core problems including the following:
1) More than 40% of our public school children are in Special Education for the most part as an answer to dysfunctional homes. The costly program doesn’t work. The better answer is boarding schools starting at the formative age of 6 which would reinforce the self-esteem and confidence of children by dressing them in clean uniforms, feeding them 3 square meals a day and conditioning them to after-school study and sports programs to provide a base for them to enter mainstream education. 90% of Special Education programs would disappear overnight and the cost savings would assist in setting up and operating the boarding schools.
2) The faceless State Board and its liberal progressive Board of Regents irresponsibly impose financial mandates on local districts without any cost/benefit rationale. The State now mandates that every child obtain a regents diploma without regard for the ability of the child and with no recognition that trade schools and other alternatives must be available to those unable to achieve a regent’s diploma.
3) Our NYS Legislative delegation has failed to pass legislation for an appointed school board with members having minimum standards of education, experience and ability.
4) It is the Board’s duty to properly educate the community about the advantage to the unions and the constraints on management in dealing with the “continuation of terms” provisions of the Triborough Amendment. Enlightening the people would enable a concerted effort in the Legislature to rescind the law. In a time of financial crisis and shrinking education budgets, we must collectively call on the Legislature to issue mandate relief to our school districts. As Cuomo mentioned in his State of the State address, New York is number 1 in spending, and number 34 in achievement. The education budget is too large and must be spent in a responsible and accountable way.
5) For desirable reason, the Board extended Superintendent Williams’ contract for an additional 4 years. In its deliberations, the Board was not made aware by the Superintendent of a letter from Don Ogilvie of BOCES condemning many aspects of the operations of the system, and the way many of the schools in the district are run. The failure to disclose the letter to the Board was clearly fraud on the inception. The Superintendent should immediately be discharged for cause and the Board should commence a national search for a high-quality replacement who can provide not only the vision, but also who has the intestinal fortitude to carry out the structural reforms so necessary to the future of our children.
The time for rhetoric is over. If the Board does not within the next thirty days undertake and materially address the aforesaid challenges, I will mobilize the community and the Common Council to deny City the revenues (approximately $70MIL) to the Board budget until it has resigned in favor of a special master to be appointed by the State Board pending
legislation by our State delegation to replace the elected Board with an appointed Board with minimum standards.
If you cannot stand the heat, then you should get out of the kitchen.