August 24, 2009

Real, uncensored effect of BloomKlein budget cuts

I teach at new high school. Last year we had 112 students and a budget of $1.2 million. This comes to just over $10,400/student. Our student body is 100% English Language Learners and 100% Title 1 (an indicator of poverty level) although we did not get any Title 1 money last year because we were a new school.

This year we will double our student register to 225, still all ELL and all Title 1. Our budget for this year - $1.6 million including the addition of Title 1 money. This comes to just over $7111/student. This is a cut of 32%!

$7111 per student. The next time you see that campaign ad for Bloomberg that claims he has done great things for education in NYC think of this - our school, with 100%high need students, will get 32% less money than last year. We will get approximately half of what schools in places like Scarsdale NY get. Half the money! Yet, in three years our graduates will have to compete with those from places like Scarsdale for college entry. This is the definition of de facto racism.

It is not hyperbole to say that these budget cuts are racist and anti-working class. They will affect black, latino and poor whites disproportionately. Schools serving these students are already struggling behind those in middle-class or rich areas. Our students need more services. Their families can't afford private tutors or "college admissions coaches".

Top universities get to say that they are not racist, it's just that there are not enough qualified black, latino and poor white applicants. As if all students start from a level playing field. That is the real danger of this kind of racism. No one stands up and talks about "those people". Everyone gets to look like they are only concerned about "merit". And blame gets put on the victims - they're just not good enough. This is the racism that too many people close their eyes to because it is easy to ignore.

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