Last fall, while we were fighting to enforce our rights to a free public education in Maryland, through our battle to eliminate school fees for textbooks and gym towels, NYC schools were faced with a similar dilemma.
However, like everything else in the Big Apple, its on a much larger scale, as indicated in this article from the New York Post. From the article:
The powerhouse parent groups boldly solicit donations - some accept credit cards and PayPal online - to bypass Department of Education rules, a Post investigation found. The PTAs advertise on Craigslist or at colleges and put $12-an-hour assistant teachers on their own payrolls - violating DOE policies and skirting union pay and benefit scales.In the article, some parents admit that paying upwards of $500 as a fee to send their kids to these schools is a bargain compared to private schools - especially in NYC. Read further and you will see that under Mr. Klein's tenure - where smaller schools are often co-housed in the same building, one school may raise significant funding, while the other occupants? Too bad, how sad.
What is really striking about this piece is that the practice bypasses the unions and the hiring system in the school system. Advertising on Craigslist for a teachers aide? I am a product of the NYC public school system and grew up with a parent who toiled away at a NYC Title I school and still proudly carries her UFT card.
Am I disappointed.
First, with the Unions for putting up with this practice without a fight.
Second, for lawyer turned school system administrator Klein, who so conveniently forgets that it is his obligation to oversee the largest school district with a free public education.
And, most of all, with the residents of NY - who tolerate this practice.
Equity and a free public education are obviously far from reality in New York City.
This makes our PTSAs with their budgets in the $40,000 range look very modest.