Friday, May 23, 2008
The DOE's "Children Last" Shell Game Is Exposed By Albany..... It's About Time
The Kleinberg administration has over the years has worked the old shell game that allowed them to use money as they see fit while starving the classrooms of supplies, teaching talent, and keeping class sizes unreasonably high, the highest in the State. No-bid contracts and highly-paid consultants are quite common at Tweed and even the alleged 200 million dollar cuts will not significantly change this cosy relationship. As for these cuts being real, seeing is believing. However, the Kleinberg shell game has been exposed and Albany is now aware of the DOE ploy. For the first time the big three of Joe Bruno, Sheldon Silver, and David Patterson have told the Kleinberg administration to forget about getting permission to change State aid rules. We know what you are doing and we are not amused. In fact here is what the Governer said:
"The lack of flexibility in State funding reflects the State's policy that Contract for Excellence funding should go disproportionately to schools with the greatest needs. If the City were not reducing its own promised spending for schools, it would have sufficient money to balance funds for other schools if it chose to do so."
In other words. You are cutting 300 million out of your budget and want the State to allow you to spend the extra 63 million dollars of State aid as you see fit? Forget about it!
To understand how well the Kleinberg administration has played the game of hide the money, the editorial and reporting staff of the New York Daily News and New York Post believe the DOE spin machine and that this hypocrisy is justified. Despite all three State leaders comments.
However, an article in the New York Sun by Andrew Wolf exposes the Kleinberg hypocrisy and writes about the Kleinberg administration's "smoke and mirrors" statements of educational progress as phony. Wolf writes about that there has been little or no progress in student test scores and a reduction in high school SAT results. Amdrew Wolf's article speaks the truth and in my opinion, the only tangable results from the Kleinberg administration has been a worsening of teacher morale, more ATRs, and an incrrease in "rubber room" teachers.
Let's see, the City is cutting 300 million from the DOE with 99 million coming directly from the schools. How can the DOE make up this artificial shortfall? Well 81 million can be saved by placing ATRs in schools before new teachers are hired. The remaining 18 million dollars can be saved by reducing the "rubber room" population by 90% (since only 10% of the present rubber room teachers will be terminated, retire, or resign). That means that of the 65 million dollars spent on the "rubber room" teachers, the DOE will have 58.4 million dollars to spend, well above the 18 million dollars needed to save any school budget cuts. Just think, instead of a 99 million dollar cut to the schools, the DOE will have a 40 million dollar surplus!
Realistically, don't look for Kleinberg to do the obvious, bring experienced teachers back in the classrooms while eliminating school budget cuts and reducing class size with the surplus. Instead, look for the DOE to keep the ATR and "rubber room" problem going and indirectly cut school programs that come from Tweed's 200 million dollar budget cuts.
In other words, Tweed's "Children Last Program" will continue until the next mayor takes office.