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New York State Ordered to Pay $2 Billion More to NYC Schools:

Details in theTimes.

This is much less than the plaintiffs were seeking, but approximately $2 billion more than should be spent in the absence of fundamental reforms of the school system. I grew up around many New York City school teachers, and there are fundamental problems with the schools that more money will not address. Some of these are idiosyncratic to New York City (crazy union contracts that make it almost impossible to, e.g., even get a light bulb changed in a timely fashion in a classroom), to ones that are relatively typical of major public school systems (it's almost impossible to fire a bad teacher). All the younger teachers I knew were smart and ambitious, which meant that their immediate goal was to get out of the classroom, and into first the "resource room" and then into administration. The older teachers had often started out idealistic and hardworking, but after seeing their incompetent, lazy colleagues get raises in exact lockstep with them, gradually decided that they were being suckers for trying so hard. Finally, in many high schools, junior high schools, and even some elementary schools, security was utterly lacking, students could virtually not be expelled for misbehavior, even violent misbehavior. As a result, teachers often gave over control of their classrooms to the students after being subject to violence, or threats thereof.

You would think that activists and courts faced with such problems, and with a system that already spends prodigiously (and has increased spending dramatically over the years) would focus on some of these fundamental problems.

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