We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Yesterday most of us here in the Northeast spent the day digging out of yet another big snow pile. I grew up with snow, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, then four years of Syracuse nastiness. It doesn't bother me in the least, and I'm more than happy going out with a snow shovel to dig, dig, dig.
I figure you need at least 4+ inches to call off school, and at least that much to prevent me from heading in to NYC and the office. Yesterday was one of those days, with my younger son having yet another snow day and me staying home for probably the fifth time this winter.
But Bill de Blasio was having none of it. His point of view was to get the kids into school at all costs.
This is a mayor who is slowly destroying any popularity he has with voters by making decisions which are difficult to support in any way. I couldn't believe NYC schools were open yesterday, until I heard the press conference. Bill's words go far in explaining how important he feels school is. It hasn't got anything to do with education, it has everything to do with having daycare so parents can work.
"It's always a tough decision based on imperfect information."
Really? The Weather Service had said, with regularity, that it was going to be a minimum of 6 inches, Bill. They warned of potential for a foot or more. Sure, the Weather Service may be wrong about climate change, but you believe that, so surely you must have some level of trust in their observations?
"There are huge number of parents for whom the consistency of the school schedule is absolutely necessary," de Blasio said. "They are going to work, they have no choice. If they can't get their kid to school, they don't have another option. There are huge numbers of parents for whom their kid getting to school also means their child will have a good meal, and in some cases, two meals. And so, the fact is, it's a very big deal to some parents."
Ohhhh...OK, now I get it. You just wanted to make sure daycare was in session. Fine, everything is understood and all is well. I'm sure the teachers will be happy to know they are part of your daycare plan.
Of course, then there's this winner:
I have to admit, I thought it was beautiful, but I had a completely different view out my back window.
Probably the only honest thing the new mayor of NYC will ever say. Yes, the schools are mainly, primarily and almost exclusively daycare facilities. Always been that way, always will. What did we learn in public school? I learned to read and write at home. I learned my values and standards of behavior within my family. In the government schools I was fed lies; many big lies and many small lies. I was instructed to believe we lived in a land of freedom. I was instructed to believe the government was good and that we lived by the rule of law. That all had the same rights, obligations and standing in society. Lies, every one.
There are a large number of students, particularly older students who don't have to travel far, who may be able to make it in any kind of weather.
By and large, however, if you've ever been on a subway headed to my office and seen what you have to go through on a heavy snow day (my office being one block from a local specialized High School that draws from many different portions of the city), you'd be less inclined to say this.
More importantly, the issue isn't the older kids. New York is a city in which at 10 year old wanders the streets on his way to 5th grade classes with nary a care in the world. I'm always stunned that suburban parents are so protective of their kids (we let ours walk to school by themselves by 4th grade, to the shock and amazement of other parents), while a 10 year old in NYC wanders around with his backpack looking like he owns Gotham.
Now, you could say this supports your view, but it doesn't. These kids rarely see snow. The streets are dangerous in heavy snow (having nearly been hit by one city driver, I'll tell you the streets are not safe for adults because NYC drivers have no idea how to drive in it).
Bill made a terrible mistake and he's very lucky he didn't cost a life or two in the process.
New York is dangerous once snowfall hits 2+ inches. I'll still come in because I can deal with it. But the denizens of the city have no clue how to manage it.
deBlasio's admission that schools are daycare from his perspective also explains his mission for compulsory pre-school.This gets him two things:
1. He makes jobs for more teachers.
2. he gives "free" daycare for parents.
The educational value of preschool for deeply impoverished children is questionable, but may be there. Its value for middle class and above has never been demonstrated clearly.