Senator Carl Kruger — thank you, but really:
What took you so long?
A half a generation of school children have been handicapped for life, and teaching, once a dignified, intensely rewarding profession, has been downgraded to a grad school job you can pick up on the way to doing something "more important" with your life.
The whole clip of Kruger's remarks at the Feb. 2nd session of the Joint Budget Hearing on Elementary and Secondary Education up in Albany can be found here.
Scroll down to see my favorite paragraph, in larger print. He's picked up some steam by then, but the question remains:
What took them so long?
Wikipedia: "On December 2, 2009, Kruger voted against marriage equality legislation,
which failed to pass the Senate."
There has been a lot of acrimony concerning school closings in the city.
We seem to find a disconnect whenever we talk about the Dept of Education between the communities and Tweed, and it doesn't get any better, it just keeps on getting worse and worse.
[He mentions the renewal of school governance, putting the control of the schools once again into the mayor's hands . . .]
But we built in certain safeguards into that new legislation. The question of bringing closures into the communities that are affected, impact reports, the opportunity to hold individualized public hearings at those schools that are slated for closure, bringing the entire package along with a LEGITIMATE impact report to the puppet Council for Education Equality, which in its last vote the 5 borough presidents voted against and the other members weigh in as we knew they would be, and ultimately it passes.
I guess my question to you is: What is going to be the wake-up call, when we as the partner are making the parents part of the process in developing the educational policies for our schools?
When are we going to be able to say that we have accomplished our goal and that the parents are not sort of put on the back burner and treated as, as an annoyance rather than a partner?
When are we going to be able to say that the Legislature and the elected officials are partners in the effort?
You know, you come to us for money, but you don't come to us for direction.
You come to us for money, but you don't come to us for involvement.
You come to us for money, but at the same time, you know, we're sort of like the orphaned children that are never really around the table at the day of the family dinner.
So, I'm not asking a question, I'm making a statement. I brought a lawsuit . . .
Today we find ourselves once again being asked — by you — being asked to undo the executive budget, to be able to funnel more money into the NYC school system.
At the same time, you haven't come to us today, or ever, and said how can we become a partner with you in how we're going to use that money and how we're going to educate our children — except in some kind of a mock, distorted fashion that the Dept. of Education knows best and we know least. . .
Before we go ahead and we cut health care or we cut something else out of the budget in order to try to bring the gap between what the Executive proposed and what we're prepared to offer up, then you should be able to offer up to us some kind of a public statement and some kind of real meaningful input in the way NYC school systems are run.
Not that you're annoyed because the NAACP has to join a lawsuit with the UFT on the issue of closure, because I think at the end of the day, they may very well win that suit.
I know at 5 o'clock tonight I have a meeting in my office with members of the Senate, that we are going to have our first meeting under the new School Governance Law, that allows us oversight to weigh in on a lot of these issues, and we're going to do it. We'll do it either nicely or we'll do it by subpoena.
But at the end of the day, we want to find out, we want to find out where after NINE YEARS of TORTURE, nine years of ACRIMONY, nine years of nail-biting and hand-twisting, to this day, whether it's trailers in the school yard, or whether it's parents standing in the door, or whether it's teachers that are trying to do battle, or whether it's just plain folks who live in the community wanting to know where their tax dollars are, and WE CAN'T ANSWER THEM!!
We can't answer them because you've disconnected us from the process.