It’s easy to sit back and criticize a whole system or industry for failings or lack of, well anything. That’s not what this is about- it’s more of recognizing some pitfalls and posing a question or two. Lack of robust music education and arts aside- the major cities in the country have issues to address in a public education system.
I come from a family of teachers and many of my peers in my community are excellent teachers or administrators that do absolutely incredible things. My sister, for one, was a leader in the NYC Department of Education in the sense that she wrote some important curriculum. In the school she worked at in Flushing, NY she took on many roles and wore many hats. She is a shining example of what is right in the system and many people at the DOE have this drive & talent. She has left because of burnout and for a better opportunity so now a generation of students at that school will miss what she brought to thousands. How many times has this happened?
Or another example, The Non-Profit Mafia.
The after-school programming in NYC is run by hundreds of greedy nonprofits and are mostly grant-funded. Back in 2016, I took a stab at a considerable amount of money in a grant program, got a school to back me up, and was set to offer programming. I was a complete newb! The “nonprofit” after-school program at that school found out and (long story short) pushed us out. They actually ransacked a meeting with the principal and pointed to our public tax returns that we couldn’t possibly have the staffing to retain this type of grant. We never got the opportunity to do it.
Or another case in point- renting DOE facilities out. Years past, Real Brave used to rent the auditoriums out to hold shows and eventually it wasn’t a great fit for us for practical reasons and branding. What was another reason? The city wouldn’t let for-profit institutes charge anything for events. Of course, I can see why but the extent that we had to go through paperwork, or “make work” as a friend of mine says is crazy.
Perhaps more- 114,000 kids in NYC in 2019 were homeless or home insecure and attending school. What kind of stress does that inflict upon administrators and teachers knowing that exists in their classroom?
Or this: there is a 30,000 student decline this year as people leave the NYC public school system, move or find other ways to educate themselves.
There has to be a better way forward or homeschooled students, charter schools and more will be an answer for more and more families- and rightly so.