Catholic schools are shutting down more than ever, and that is bad news for students that would benefit
from what often proves to be the best education in the city. Now, the city has been given the green light to shut down some 22 poorly performing schools. If schools perform poorly over and over again, who
are they failing?
The students get shortchanged while the schools survive as a jobs factory for employees that go there every day. Teachers are important, and so is the rest of the staff. There is nothing wrong with protecting jobs, but it cannot come at the expense of students who do not have the time to wait for a school to get back on its feet.
The mayor and the Department of Education did the right thing in pushing for this, and State Supreme Court Justice Paul G. Feinman ruled properly when he explained that the United Federation of
Teachers had not made a compelling case to keep these schools open.
What is really at issue here is the often discussed issue of charter schools. Charter schools are opening as these regular public schools are closing. Charter schools are more independent than regular public
schools, which means they can be more innovative.
The state of Massachusetts recently introduced “innovation schools,” which are public schools with a charter school structure, but they still have to abide by the agreements that the teacher’s union has made with the school district. They are basically charter schools without teeth.
The United Federation of Teachers says it will continue to litigate the matter. A union’s purpose is to protect the livelihood of its members, so there is no surprise in their stance. But the mayor has
held a tough line in regard to school accountability, and this is a big decision by Justice Feinman. It means that education for children trumps job security.
The other part of this issue is that there might not be an independent politician in City Hall after 2013. There is good reason to think that this is the only time to take on the issue of closing poor performing schools. The odds that the next mayor, whoever that might be, will be willing to take this issue on is not a completely safe bet.
Same-Sex Marriage in New York
Sunday marked the official first day of legalized same-sex marriage in New York State, and with that the effects that will ultimately follow.
There are those that see this as the beginning of the end of civilization, and equate this to the fall of ancient Rome. The other, more realistic possible outcome is that nothing will happen. We will look back on an issue that did not need to be such a polarizing event.
Now that same-sex marriage is a reality, open you windows and listen. That silence is the sound of nothing bad happening. Rome may have fallen for various reasons, but New York State’s fate does not depend on this. The fate of divorce lawyers, on the other hand, perhaps just got a little better.