With our schools, it’s not time for business as usual

The logic has escaped me for for several days now, and I still just don’t get it.

Maybe you can help me.

What good can possibly come out of keeping open 19 failing NYC schools?

The State Appeals court recently ruled against the City of N.Y that wanted to close the schools for low performing results, in favor of the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP.

The court found that the city failed to provide statements fully showing the impact for closing the 19 schools. (In other words, not fully accounting for how the closures would affect the communities the schools are located in)

The interested parties involved, started the traditional back and forth.

The mayor fired off comparing the teachers union with defense attorneys and said the UFT should be "ashamed" of its successful lawsuit.

“The union itself should be out there advocating for better schools, and this does not help get better schools." Bloomberg said.

Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew shot back:

"The mayor sure gets cranky when he loses, particularly when he loses to the UFT and the NAACP."

But come on, who really loses by keeping these schools open? The Mayor? Schools Chancellor Joel Klein?

No. Our children.

If the kids are forced to travel further to school, as someone who lived in the Throggs Neck Housing Projects in the Bronx, believe me, I understand difficult transportation issues. I had to ride three different buses each way to go to and from school at Theodore Roosevelt High School across from Fordham University. To me, it helps build character, perseverance, dedication. I wanted my education, and nothing was going to stop me.

I for one would rather have kids travel alittle further distance than receive a horrible education.

For the record, it is ridiculous for the MTA to ever consider cutting transportation passes for students, unless the goal is to cut the graduation rate further. As my grandmother from Augusta Georgia that raised me would say:

“Boy that just don’t make no damn sense.”

So MTA and transit authority, you could learn alot listening to the grandmothers of the world.

But back to this lawsuit. Should we feel collectively that something was accomplished? A reason to clap? Folks, the business of strongly arguing for status quo-just for the sake of arguing for it, is coming at the expense of our children.

Look at the dropout rate or the graduation rate in just about every major city. Basically, if we observe this from an optimistic point of view, we are losing one out of two children.

Education is the great equalizer in life. What is going to happen to these children with a shrinking workforce and no education. It’s a national disgrace, and it will haunt all of us for years to come.

I don’t blame the U.F.T which of course is advocating for its members to keep their jobs. But our greater responsibility belongs to the children.

It’s a cheap political shot to point out that none of the 19 schools slated for closure were from Staten Island. Meanwhile, New York NAACP leaders said the decision to close the schools would hurt minority kids.

How could it be any more harmful than what happens on a current daily basis? In a school that is not up to standards. Some people will respond to this by declaring everything is not based on “standardized testing.” There is an argument to be made for that, but in the meantime, Children are dropping out in record numbers, and almost all of those kids look like me.

Are we seriously just to ignore the academic results of these schools.

Do we just keep pushing our kids, like cattle, into a particular school where it’s almost guaranteed based on the results, that the child will not graduate.

We know the result going in, but do it anyway.

Nothing will improve until all of us realize we have a personal responsibility to all the children. I borrow the phrase, “each one, teach one.”

My wife and I are extremely proud of the fact that two young men we were mentoring in the special education program, graduated with regular High School Diplomas two weeks ago.

But in filling out forms for our son who also graduated, reality broke my heart. It’s a good thing the federal government does this now, and that is the feds list the graduation rate for the schools you are applying to.

I love the State University of New York system, having graduated from SUNY Cortland. (In a special program that gave me the opportunity of a lifetime titled EOP) but the form showed in plain black and white, the graduation rate for the local community college is not 50 percent, not 25 percent, but only 18 percent.

The U.F.T and the NAACP may have won the lawsuit, but do the rest of us have any real reason to applaud?