Friday, August 06, 2010
New York City To Get $200 Million To Hire Teachers. Will They? Not If Tweed Is Given Total Control Of the Money.
The United States Senate has passed a bill that will add 600 million dollars to New York State to rehire or save 7,100 teaching jobs. New York City should receive about 200 million of the funds, much of it earmarked for teacher hiring, and this should allow the City to replace the over 2,000 teachers who have let the school system due to attrition. Further, it puts to rest Mayor Bloomberg's faulty connection of freezing teacher raises to avoid layoffs. In addition, the added money will allow the City to reduce class sizes and add school programs slated for elimination. However, this is the Department Of Education (DOE) where their priorities are not what is best for the schools or students but what is best for Tweed. Furthermore, who will oversee the funding to ensure the money will be spent properly?
During Chancellor Joel Klein's Administration there has been a lack of transparency and accountability in giving out taxpayer money. For example, the New York State Comptroller wrote a scathing report that showed that during the three year period ending on June 30, 2008 the DOE issued an astounding 291 no-bid contracts worth 342.5 million dollars in apparent violation of the City contracting requirements. Furthermore, can we really forget about Tweed hiring a $374,000 thousand dollar hypnotherapist last year? Now the City will be getting a $200 million dollar shot in the arm for hiring teachers. However, given the history of Tweed, how can we be sure the money will go for it's intended use? To allow Tweed to determine the use of the money, without oversight, is like allowing the fox into the chicken coop!
To me, the money the City receives for education should be tracked by an independent agency to ensure all the money is being used for the intended purpose, that is to hire teachers. To allow the Bloomberg Administration to give Tweed total control of the funds will probably result in the funds not being used to add teachers to the school system but to add to the headcount at Tweed, or fund more unnecessary high priced consultants, and useless programs. Based on Tweed's past actions it is a very bad idea for the Klein Administration to handle the funds without stringent oversight.