Home Blog Teachers Union Prez Says NYC Schools Have Been Fixed—But For Whom?

Teachers Union Prez Says NYC Schools Have Been Fixed—But For Whom?

In the film “The Matrix,” Laurence Fishburne’s character, Morpheus, explains to the protagonist that the world he perceived himself to be living in actually had been a neural computer simulation. Humanity had lost a war against its own artificial intelligence mechanical creations years before. Human beings were grown captive in tanks, kept under control by a system known as the Matrix, and used as batteries.

The film’s final scene and credits roll to a song by Rage Against the Machine called “Wake Up.”

Last week, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten gave an interview on MSNBC. Host Stephanie Ruhle posed this scenario for Weingarten’s comment:

We know that there are kids living in cities in this country where those cities and those schools are not serving them. If you live in an inner city and you’ve got kids, your best chance for economic mobility for your child is through a great education, and there are schools that are not serving our kids.

Weingarten responded:

And those schools need to get fixed like we did in New York City.

New York City schools may have been “fixed,” but this raises the question, “fixed for whom?”

Weingarten’s organization virulently opposed the education reforms of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who left office in 2013. Since 2013, New York City has been run by American Federation of Teachers ally Mayor Bill de Blasio. Have New York City Schools been fixed since 2013?

Fortunately, New York City is one of the districts included in the Trial Urban District Assessment of the NAEP. The chart below looks at trends for black and Hispanic students since 2013. On these tests, 10 points approximately equals a grade level’s worth of average progress.

Most of both groups of fourth graders scored “Below Basic” on the 2019 fourth-grade reading exam. The schools clearly are not “fixed” for the sort of students in New York City that Stephanie Ruhle asked Weingarten about in the interview.

In fact, the schools needed improvement in 2013, and then got worse rather than better. If New York City schools have not been fixed for students, for whose benefit have they been fixed? The United States Census Bureau offers a telling clue:

Weingarten’s confusion is understandable, but New York City schools have not been fixed for all students. Rather, they look to have been rigged for her organization and others.

Wake up, New York.

This piece first ran with a different title here at RedefinEd.

What Do You Think?
Matthew Ladner
Matthew Ladner is executive editor of redefinED. He has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform, and his articles have appeared in Education Next; the Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice; and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and three children.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts

Here’s Why Our Kids Need to Get Back to Class

It’s now July and one-half of the year is behind us.  That half was filled with Australian wildfires, presidential impeachments and subsequent...

Mom Crowd Funds the Scholarship Her Son with Autism Lost Because of the Pandemic

I stumbled upon the story of Gabe and he pretty much captured my heart. You'll soon see why. I reached out to...

Frederick Douglass’ Speech: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

We based the name of this site, Project Forever Free, on these words by Frederick Douglass: "Once you...

Three Mothers Win Supreme Court Case that May Now Expand Education Options for Families Across the Country

In an effort to secure the best education possible for their children, three mothers launched a court case five years ago that...

Huge Win for Kids and Religious Liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in Espinoza v. Montana finally puts a stake in the heart of the ugly and bigoted legacy of the Blaine...