Niagara Gazette

Opinion

October 11, 2013

HAMILTON: Our fine failing schools cost more than we may think

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — These experienced school teachers have not lost control of their classrooms, they are simply hampered from teaching those who like to learn because that control has been taken from them. I admit, a part of the problem is in the politics of their union, a union that supports state representatives who will go to Albany to better fund them, but they also tend to be representatives who empower the student over both the parent and teacher. Both of the latter pays the price for it, as well as the city, in that these types of students tend to be an excessive burden on our social and public safety systems. That is how we all pay our local share of the no- to low-cost of those facilities.

Furthermore, in addition to disempowerment, significant parts of many parents’ disengagement from the education of their children arise from the fact that the child is bused from low-income housing projects in the city’s North End to LaSalle-area schools. What this means is that a low-income, car-less mother would have to spend more than $20 each way in a taxi to attend a parent-teacher conference — and she just ain’t got $40 to be as participatory as the parent in LaSalle who can walk to the neighborhood school.

And speaking of neighborhood schools, most of the kids in the LaSalle district have that; while in the downtown area, many, if not most, of the kids in a single neighborhood are bused to four or five different schools. This disengagement from both parent and neighborhood is evident in the differences between the quality of the LaSalle and downtown neighborhoods. That difference causes the LaSalle property taxpayer, in essence, to be subsidizing the downtown neighborhoods and it gives little incentive for real improvement in those downtown neighborhoods.

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