Getting kids back in school is vital to all families, especially those of the less-privileged. So it’s maddening to see how horribly Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza have screwed up — with the latest news being word that one of de Blasio’s own advisory committees flagged the likely teacher shortage four months ago.
The Wall Street Journal reports that at least nine members of the Education Sector Advisory Council are furious at how badly their advice was ignored. David Banks, president of the Eagle Academy Foundation, filed a June 2 memo discussing the need to avoid budget cuts and principals’ worries their voices weren’t being heard, as well as the looming teacher shortage. Later that month, the council was disbanded.
“The failure here has been a failure to anticipate the obvious,” Banks, an ex-principal, told the Journal. Indeed, the mayor has cited the shortage as a key reason he’s had to delay the start of in-school classes twice now. It’s also forced many schools to drop standards for remote classes — as children doing hybrid learning aren’t even guaranteed a live teacher on their remote days.
Meanwhile, Team de Blasio has added to the shortage by repeatedly making concessions to the United Federation of Teachers about what “educators” are actually obliged to do when it comes to showing up for work or actually having live interactions with remote-instruction students.
And, as The Post now reports, some schools are getting far more cash to hire substitute teachers than others — even as some would rather use added funds to hire guidance counselors or other staff, since substitutes rarely work out well.
This is a grave injustice — by de Blasio’s own philosophy: Better-off parents and kids can do much more to adjust when the public school system fails. The mayor’s bungling plainly comes at a far higher price for “the other New York” that he’s always vowing to look out for.
We understand why the principals’ union has voted no confidence in the mayor, but we’re dubious about its solution of having the State Education Department take over, since long-distance supervision would only add to the chaos.
At this point — and we can’t believe we’re writing this — his best move might be to beg former Chancellor Carmen Fariña to come back to resolve the crisis. But plainly the city needs someone calling the shots who actually understands how to run a school system.
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