Thursday, December 19, 2013

And We'll Never Be Royals

I had posted a link to a 5-part series at the New York Times that followed a young girl and her homeless family living in NYC.  It is devastating reading.

Mayor Bloomberg weighed in.  Now, he has the biggest city in the country to run and I absolutely don't expect everything to work well particularly for the poor if only because that's not the way of the world.  But a certain level of sanitation and safety, especially in shelters with babies and children, is a must.  He said nothing about the issues raised in the story about those problems.

What he said was this:

Mayor Bloomberg responds to the Dasani article in the New York Times:

“It’s fair to say that New York City has done more than any city to help the homeless and we should be very proud of that,” declared the mayor, who went on to express optimism that the city’s public schools system would help Dasani break the cycle of poverty.

“This kid was dealt a bad hand. I don’t know quite why. That’s just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not,” he said.


Well, there's honesty for you.  Except that most people reading that might think he's either shockingly  blunt or related to Marie Antoinette.   Of course, he probably knows Dasani and her family probably don't read the NY Times and won't hear his words.

What was the exchange between Fitzgerald and Hemingway (in a different story each wrote, not face to face):

Fitzgerald: The rich are different from you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

Here's what Dasani said about God in the article:

God “is somewhere around,” she says. “We just can’t find him.”

And into this world - at the one place where Dasani has real structure and hope in her life - her school, comes charters.


One can only imagine the heights Dasani might reach at a school like Packer Collegiate Institute, just 12 blocks west of the shelter. Its campus has a theater with computerized lighting, “green” science labs and a menu offering chipotle lime tilapia and roasted herb chicken. Its middle school cultivates the interests of the “whole child,” for whom doors will open to the “public arenas of the world.”
Packer’s students might learn something from Dasani, too. Parents from five private Brooklyn schools recently filed into Packer, where tuition is over $35,000, to hear a clinical psychologist give a talk on how to raise “self-reliant, appreciative children in a nervous and entitled world.”
That world is unlikely to become Dasani’s. She is not the kind of child to land a coveted scholarship to private school, which would require a parent with the wherewithal to seek out such opportunities and see them through. For the same reason, Dasani does not belong to New York’s fast-growing population of charter school students.
In fact, the reverse is happening: a charter school is coming to McKinney. Approved last December by the Education Department, Success Academy Fort Greene will soon claim half of McKinney’s third floor. This kind of co-location arrangement has played out in schools across the city, stoking deep resentments in poor communities.
The guiding ethos of the charter school movement has been “choice” — the power to choose a school rather than capitulate to a flawed education system and a muscular teachers’ union. But in communities like McKinney’s, the experience can feel like a lack of choice.
Dasani watched, wide-eyed, during a protest last December as McKinney’s parents and teachers held up signs comparing the co-location to apartheid. Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, serve fewer students with special needs, and are sometimes perceived as exclusive.
A web posting for Success Academy Fort Greene does little to counter that notion. Parents, it says, “shouldn’t have to trek to other Brooklyn neighborhoods or spend $30,000+ on a private school in order to find excellence and rigor.”

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