Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Farina "Buy Rosetta Stone" Statement Illustrates Basic Bloomberg Term IV Nature of De Blasio's DOE

Bill de Blasio's New York City Department of Education is clearly operating as a continuation of the Michael Bloomberg regime. De Blasio campaigned as a progressive, but his actions speak louder than words. Schools chancellor Carmen Farina has stepped to a new low with her new statement.

Parents were upset with the city's cuts in foreign language instruction.  Farina told them to buy the Rosetta Stone language program if they were so keen to have their children learn a foreign language. Foreign language has been a rarer offering in middle and high schools. Just fourteen years ago many high schools offered language study of several languages. This has been scaled back to just Spanish. And many schools offer no foreign language. This is a casualty of the city complying with the small schools policy prerogative of Microsoft mogul Bill Gates.

Here is the critical passage from the DNAinfo article reporting on Farina's statement:

Parents worried about cuts to school foreign-language programs were told by education chief Carmen Fariña that, if they don't like it, they should buy the pricey audio course Rosetta Stone.
The schools chancellor slapped down concerns about the loss of language classes at a recent town hall meeting to discuss the effectiveness of dual-language programs and second-language learning in Uptown's District 6.
When the mother of a seventh-grade student at the Mott Hall School told Fariña that her son had his French courses cut from twice to once a week amid a growing emphasis on STEM education — short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — Fariña gave an answer that drew gasps from the room.
Moreover, the fact that Farina made this admonition in NYC DOE District 6, which serves the Washington Heights part of Manhattan, strikes this writer as a racist and classist policy. For, I highly doubt that she would have the same gall to resist offering foreign language in the whiter and more affluent schools, such as those in southern Brooklyn (Murrow or Midwood High Schools) or eastern Brooklyn (Cardozo High School). And just where is the United Federation of Teachers on this? Silent, and I expect them to remain so. The UFT takes a policy of aligning with the most viable liberal it thinks it could find, and if that candidate is elected, publicly supporting the candidate. Don't wait for Michael Mulgrew to denounce Farina's cavalier statement.