Monday, June 14, 2010

New York Budget Cuts

It's a horrible time to be living in New York City right now. For those who have not heard, New York, the state that is, has not been able to approve the state's budget for next year, primarily due to disagreement over budget cuts. If the state does not pass an emergency funding bill tomorrow, the state will enter emergency mode, shutting down all state services with the exception of public security and other necessary departments. The reason for this madness is that the state faces a massive deficit, and cannot decide how to resolve it. Should money be taken away from the schools or from summer camps, from mental health facilities or from infrastructure development. Believe it or not, this post is not a rant about the state government and how us high schoolers are being screwed over, but about the high schoolers themselves, and how nobody is really informed as to what's going on.

Budget cuts have been brought to my attention recently by a few students looking to get a petition signed. From the petition:

In a turbulent global economy, certainty and confidence can be our greatest asset. The future of the American workforce is anything but certain, with declining academic standards and apathy threatening to tear apart the framework of our youth. To triumph, we need to first provide our schools with the financial support needed to prepare us, the students, with skills necessary for success in college and the workplace. With the current economic climate, we have all witnessed the making of difficult decisions on what expenses to cut and what excesses to do away with. However, funding our education should NOT be negotiable. We cannot afford to prune the inspiration, creativity, and vision of tomorrow.
At Staten Island Technical High School, one of the top public high schools in the nation, the budget cut will eliminate the teachers needed to instruct fundamental Advanced Placement courses and electives, forcing these course offerings to dilute and subject departments to shrink. We have just ONE chance at a college education, and lack of a rigorous curriculum will severely reduce our chances of acceptance into a prestigious college or university.
We, the students of a specialized science high school, NEED to have access to AP courses and opportunities. We cannot afford to lose these AP classes, for the core curriculum alone is not enough to cultivate our minds and equip us with the knowledge necessary to transcend the role of the student and become the leaders of tomorrow.
While I am all for our schools getting money, this fight is useless. The facts are that the state is losing money, and it's not coming from public security or any other important department. Schools will still functions under these budget cuts, they just will not have as many advanced classes. While this may suck for students, kids should not need advanced classes to excel. I know that half the stuff I write about on this blog I did not learn in class. I found it all by myself in the infinite resource known as the Internet, which just about every student I know has.

The real problem is that nobody realizes this, not the students, not the colleges. Good students learn more outside of school than they do inside of school. This is one of the reasons why I like MIT: instead of accepting AP credit, they hold advanced standing examinations. In other words, if over your high school career you believe you have gathered enough information on a subject to skip the class, regardless of the source, you can take a test and skip the class, even though you never took an "advanced placement" class in the subject. In fact, in many of the subjects MIT offers these exams for they do not even accept AP credit, because they know that there are a lot of students out there who learn outside of school.

Another thing I have realized is that students do not have a sense of finance or budget. One teacher can cost anywhere between $40,000 and $75,000, not including those with tenure. Fifty percent of a school's operating budget goes toward salaries. Yet for some reason, students and parents alike complain about unnecessary spending in schools, whether it be new computers, new equipment, whatever. When my school got new computers, the amount paid for all of the computers combined would not have saved even one teacher.

So where do we go from here? Well, we deal. We cut down on whatever expenses we can, and make the best out of a bad situation. If anything, we educate our students on what is actually going on, so there is no lack of awareness. Hopefully our schools are not hit too hard.

No comments:

Post a Comment