Archive for December 31st, 2004

31st December
2004

First Published in The New York Sun, December 31, 2004

By Andrew Wolf

Contrary to popular belief, the greatest impediment to the reform of public education in New York was not the old Board of Education bureaucracy, nor is it the teachers union contract. Far more damaging is the power that educrats have themselves ceded through the settlement of various lawsuits going back generations.This practice is emerging as an underestimated crisis.

These consent decrees are the reason why tens of thousands of New York’s most at-risk children are lured into the linguistic ghetto of the bilingual education program. A settlement of a prior lawsuit is the reason why a disproportionate amount of education funding goes to special education programs that generate more jobs than positive outcomes. Consent decrees are the reason why misbehaving, even dangerous, students can avoid the discipline necessary to maintain order in our most troubled schools.

Rather than fight these crippling mandates, the Bloomberg administration has agreed to even more restrictive settlements. These, like the others, undermine his ability to reform the system. (more…)