Ex Chancellor Joel Klein and his education reformer friends, which includes hedge fund managers, profiteers, and misguided billionaires such as Bill Gates will tell the media that it's "excellent teachers" and not eliminating poverty that closes the student academic achievement gap. While not true, unfortunately, they have the ear of many influential politicians such as President Obama, Chris Cristie, Andrew Cuomo and of cause Mayor moneybags himself, Michael Bloomberg. The reason that these politicians believe the education reformer myth that "excellent teachers" can eliminate the student academic achievement gap is that poverty, the real reason for the student academic achievement gap, is difficult to fix. In fact poverty is actually increasing!
A case in point, he latest poverty statistics for New York City has shown an increase in the City's poverty rate to 20.9% in 2011 up from 20.1% in 2010. Worse the NYC Public School child poverty rate is an astounding 69% based upon the 2010 figures and might exceed 70% once the 2011 poverty rate numbers are analyzed. In fact 48 schools in the city had student poverty rates of 97% or higher and coincidentally, they have the lowest student academic achievement. It needs to be noted that the devastation of the superstorm Sandy could increase the student poverty rate when next year's statistics are finalized. Study after study has linked child poverty to poor academic achievement, yet this is a blind spot for education reform groups who simply ignore the poverty issue with their "no excuses" mantra.. The simple reason that Education Reformers ignore poverty is that they realize that there is little they can do about poverty without a massive influx of resources and wraparound services which costs money. Instead the education reformers look for the cheap way out by falsely claiming that an "excellent teacher" would erase the effects of poverty. Moreover, by playing the "excellent teacher" card it allows politicians like Mayor Bloomberg to camouflage his dislike for experienced teachers, who cost the City money, pensions, and retiree health benefits, by trying to get rid of seniority and tenure under his education reform agenda. His real objective to have replaceable and non-tenured teachers who last less than five years and don't have pensions is provided cover with the education reforms he professes to embrace. The reality is it is all about saving money.not helping children.