Friday, November 13, 2009
Tweed's "Children Last" Program Continues As They Layoff 503 School Aides While Giving Millions To High Priced Consultants
Tweed went ahead and laid off 503 school aides starting Monday. These school aides are invaluable to the schools, especially in the poor neighborhood schools while at the same time approving a 3 million dollar contract for the consulting firm KPMG that does not directly benefit the children. Tweed previously threatened to layoff 530 school aides but was temporarily stopped by an injunction that has since expired when DC37 refused to supply a bond to pay for the school aides.
The school aide position is one of the lowest paid position of all school employees and they do the jobs in the schools that other staff members refuse or do not want to do. Furthermore, many of the school aides work closely with the children by supervising them in the lunchroom, busing duties, and overseers during recess. Many schools will struggle greatly without the school aides and the quality of the children's educational experience will surely suffer. The DOE claims that the layoffs of the 503 school aides will save 13 million dollars for the educational budget, However, the budgets cuts seem to exempt Tweed's consultant services as in the same week they approved a 3 million dollar program by the consulting form KPMG to survey schools for priority issues. This survey has been done previously and has been largely ignored by Tweed when the previous surveys found class size to be the most important factor. Both Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, and the Manhattan PEP representative, Patrick Sullivan, questioned the use of the money at the time of past, present, and future budget cuts. However, the DOE said the survey is needed to identify school improvements. Really? As Patrick Sullivan stated. Tweed has seemed to ignore the surveys when they don't like the results. Why will this survey be different?
Yes, "children last" continues to go strong as Chancellor Joel Klein and his non-educator cronies serve up expensive contracts to well-connected consultants as the schools and especially the classroom, that they are supposed to protect are starved for funds and manpower. I believe the post on Gotham Schools-the last day of a school aide where some children wrote an emotional letter to Mayor Mike about their school aide is a must read. Shame on Mayor Mike Bloomberg and shame on Chancellor Joel Klein for the policies that only hurt the most vulnerable of children they are supposed to protect.