Friday, May 1, 2009

Demand for Unaffordable Private Schools Never Happened. Manhattan Parents Prefer and Choose Public Schools that Never Kept Pace with Demand.

Free market voucher advocates did a great job of convincing everyone that Americans wanted and trusted private schools more than their failed public school systems. But just like Utah parents that overturned a statewide voucher program pushed by Republican legislators who knew was best for kids and private for profit educators, Manhattan parents are giving their politicians an earful. NY Times:

As a growing collection of Manhattan’s most celebrated public elementary schools notify neighborhood parents that their children have been placed on waiting lists for kindergarten slots, middle-class vitriol against the school system — and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — is mounting.

“You have unleashed the fury of parents throughout this city with your complete lack of preparedness,” read one father’s recent missive ... “Kindergartners Are Not Refugees!” proclaims a flier.

Beth Levison, a documentary filmmaker whose son is No. 79 of 90 on a combined waiting list for Public School 41 and Public School 3, both in Greenwich Village (said) “You would think that Bloomberg, who is a businessman, knows how to manage inventory like this,” Ms. Levison continued. “My kid isn’t just a bottle of vodka, but this is about inventory.”

Here’s the surprise revelation: And parents fear that the lists reflect not just the new policy but also a surge in demand, fueled by an increase in young families and an economic downturn that makes private schools less appealing.
But the epicenter of the outrage is Manhattan’s District 2, particularly the Upper East Side and the Village, where new condominiums have lured young families. The district’s Community Education Council estimates 400 children are on waiting lists at a dozen schools. Rebecca Daniels, president of the District 2 council, said parents were frustrated because they had warned the Education Department that this could happen. These parents are questioning everything and everybody, and it’s putting them in a position that they don’t want to be in,” she said. “Parents shouldn’t be sitting here pitted against one another when their biggest concern is telling their 4- or 5-year-old why they’re not in kindergarten.”
Schoolsmatter blogger Jim Horn, wrote this:

How Bloomberg's School Business Model Went Bust

Now we see, too, that the religious fervor among New York City Business Roundtablers for school charterization and the spread of more private schools was based on the same kind of wishful greed that enabled the destruction of the American economy, again. The Bloomberg-Klein braintrust believed they could continue to shrink the public school system as those market forces we used to hear so much about shoved their way in to replace the white public schools that would have been abandoned for more upscale private boutiques that could be easily afforded in the economy that only went up. What would be left of the public system would be a conglomeration of cheap charter chain gangs for the poor, all run by corporations at public expense.

Bloomberg-Klein could never imagine there could be circumstances that would have the white middle class again enrolling their children in public schools. And, of course, the current outrage among middle class NYC parents who can no longer afford private school for their kindergartners is the outcome. Unfortunately, for Bloomberg, he cannot call up the shop floor and have more public kindergartens manufactured by month's end. Oh, well--maybe New Yorkers will have had enough of lawyers and MBAs running the schools.

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