Monday, January 4, 2016

Health and Safety Violations in Bronx Schools

Just had an epiphany. The reason there are so many safety violations in Bronx schools- as documented by Kathy Cole- is the same reason that there are so few athletic teams and so little gym and recess. Ever since 2006 or 2007, Bronx schools have been given the message that the only thing that really matters are test scores; that if they don't raise test scores they are going to be closed and the careers of their administrators and teachers destroyed. That message was sent by the Bloomberg DOE, the state and the feds and it is still being sent! So what do some principals conclude? Nothing matters other than test scores. Everything else can be sacrificed. Health, safety student well being? No one with power cares. I can neglect those with no consequence. Legal mandates mean nothing. The only mandate that REALLY matters is to raise test scores. Flawed gym doors? Not a problem. No athletic teams for kids who want them? No real recess? Not something those with the power to rate and close schools care about.
In high poverty areas of New York City, among which the Bronx is one, it takes real courage, even heroism, to place the health and safety of students foremost since education policy makers have made it clear that is NOT a priority. Some principals and administrators rise to the occasion and make sure their students total array of needs are met. Too many don't.