Why New York City Shouldn’t Be In The Education Business

By Kerry Lutz, Special for USDR.

I draw liberally from a recent expose in the New York Post which clearly demonstrates why the limited government espoused by our founders is the best way to go, especially when it comes to education. Public School 106, located in an extremely poor section of Far Rockaway, Queens in New York City is perhaps the worst public school in the nation.

As the Post reported extensively, the principal runs a school of “no.” The kids had gotten no math, reading or writing books for the rigorous Common Core curriculum. (We won’t even go into the efficacy of this misguided anti-American educational effort here). The 234 students received no gym or art classes. Instead they watched movies every day. The school nurse has no office equipped with a sink refrigerator or cot. The library is a mess with nothing in order.

When a teacher is absent, no substitute is hired; rather the students are split up and sent into other classes. Learning-disabled students don’t have a required special-ed co teacher. There’s no room for 40 kindergartners in the dilapidated 3-story brick structure so they get sent to trailers that reek of animal waste. You can hear rats and squirrels scamper in the walls and ceiling.

The principal of this chamber of horrors is one Marcella Sills. She’s been there for 9 years. She collects $128,000 (plus overtime) per year from the tax payers. She’s constant no-show; when she does put in an appearance she’s always late.

When the Post blew the whistle on this horror show, she actually showed up early for the first time in 7 years. A truck full of books showed up several days later. Gym and art classes got taught for the first time all year. The City’s new School Chancellor Carmen Farina sent out representatives to appraise the situation. The Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon sent out investigators to get to the truth. Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson reported, “That classrooms are orderly, teachers are dedicated, and students are learning.”

But there’s more, as the Post reported January 19, 2014. All of the people above knew about Sills’ lacking performance for many years. Teachers begged city officials to get rid of her since 2006, but their pleas were ignored. The very same people investigating now ignored the situation until the Post brought it to light. A 2007 letter to the District Superintendent said, “Get rid of her before it’s too late!” Another 2006 letter said, “You need to examine Ms. Sills’ inability to lead.” And the complaints go on and on.

Based on what was exposed in the past two weeks, one would have thought there was ample evidence to immediately send this lunatic to the rubber room. Even Comrade de Blasio was forced to comment on the situation. But they’re still covering for her. It’s obvious that if you’re a poor parent in New York City, your voice counts for nothing.

And it’s even more obvious that New York City’s government is totally incapable of running the public school system. PS 106′s published public report card is about average for a city school. That’s the frightening part. What does a school have to do to really fail? Does their DVR player have to break down?

There is no accountability when the government runs anything, from a hospital, to a subway to a school system. At least when the private sector runs a business if they fail they go out of business, barring a last minute government bail-out.

How many other Marcella Sills are hiding in the shadows of New York’s far flung public schools system? Probably many, judging from the fact that so many Johnny’s can’t read, write or do much of anything these days.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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