NYC Gets it Right (Somewhat)


Here's what it looks like in New York at about 8:15 am.

I woke up half an hour earlier than usual this morning, expecting I’d be sludging my way to work today via the train, but several text messages from colleagues, as well as a glance at my Twitter feed revealed that, finally (and miraculously) the cooler heads in NYC government prevailed, and schools were closed.

Don’t expect me to jump up and down despite believing it was the right move. I am relieved that my students’ safety (and admittedly, my own and my colleagues’) is considerably increased. All news agencies are advising people to stay in if at all possible.

But, Chancellor Joel Klein hammered home exactly what we knew he believed, but should probably never admit publicly. This gem about Klein’s opinion of teachers and the purpose of schools was delivered live on CBS 2 television at about 6:05 this morning, after anchor Maurice DuBois asked Klein why snow days in NYC are so rare: “We like to keep the schools open…Our parents have to go to work, our kids have to learn.”

Well, gee. Thanks. That confirms what so many teachers already believe when it comes to the city’s opinion of us: we are glorified babysitters. Even according to the chancellor, the role of the school is 1) watch the kids while mom and dad go to work, and 2) teach those kids. That’s inspiring – we’re doing the work of a 12-year old.

And, may I ask something? What about all those kids without access to news agencies? There are kids in my school who speak limited English and live without phones, televisions, or radios. How are they being notified of the closings so close to the start of the school day? Is Bloomberg knocking on their doors? I have no question at all that kids will show up at school today and be turned away by locked doors. I just hope they have the sense and capacity to go back home safely.

 —

I discovered two Twitter feeds last night: @NYCSchools and @NYCMayorsOffice. I’ll be following them, looking for an instantaneous peek into their perspectives on the issues that plague us as teachers. I’m looking forward to see if their tweets are as pompous as their press conferences and interviews.

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One response to “NYC Gets it Right (Somewhat)

  1. I watch Maurice DuBois and Kate Sullivan every morning on CBS (love them!) and heard Klein say that too! “Well, our parents have to go to work.” What was that all about? I completely agree with your statement. So we are merely babysitters. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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