New York School Boss Could Care Less About Students; ED is about Union Bosses

‘We’re Not About Improving the System’

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (left), an appointee of union-label Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio, openly admits that helping schoolchildren succeed is not his goal. Credit: Office of the Mayor

Empire State K-12 School Costs Soar Even as Enrollment Plummets

“We’re not about improving the [government school] system . . . .”

With these words, New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, an appointee of union-label Mayor Bill de Blasio, declared, in an appearance at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters, that helping schoolchildren succeed is not his goal.

And he is now proving the point.

This winter, Mr. Carranza is joining with government union officials and other allies in the Empire State to sway politicians in Albany to jack up state taxpayer-provided funding for K-12 public schools by a hefty $2.2 billion for the 2019-20 academic year.

If the Big Labor-backed plan is approved, next year state aid for government schools will increase by roughly 8%, or nearly four times the projected rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index.

As of 2016, the latest year for which comparable data are available, nominal per pupil expenditures in forced-unionism New York were already, at $22,316, the highest in the nation, and 90% above the U.S. average.

Since 1999-2000 School Year, State’s K-12 Enrollment Has Fallen by 250,000

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a state government agency, prices for all goods and services in 2016 were on average more than 35% higher in New York  state than in the U.S. as a whole. New York taxpayers’ extraordinarily high costs for public education partly reflect the fact that the state is expensive to live in, period.

But even with interstate differences in living costs factored in, the per pupil cost of government schools in New York was still 40% higher than the national average!

In recent years, the heavy burden of government-school costs on New York taxpayers has grown rapidly even as the number of schoolchildren has plummeted.

Between the 1999-2000 and the 2016-17 school years, enrollment in New York’s K-12 and pre-K district and charter schools fell by more than 250,000, or 10%, as families sought better economic opportunities elsewhere, most often in Right to Work states.

Meanwhile, school enrollment nationally rose by 7%.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Mary King commented: “With New York’s school-aged population declining, year after year, one might at least hope that the amount of money the state’s taxpayers have to fork over for elementary and secondary education would level off.

“But per pupil expenditures have grown so rapidly that the bill for government schools continues to mount even as the number of schoolchildren falls.”

State ‘Spends a Great Deal For Mediocre Performance’

For all the money forced-unionism New York spends on public education, the state’s educational outcomes, after controlling for student demographics, rank below the national average, according to a recent published analysis by economist Stan Liebowitz and researcher Matthew Kelly.

And New York’s educational outcomes rank far below those of Right to Work states like Virginia, Florida and Texas. The Liebowitz/Kelly study concludes that Big Labor-dominated states like New York spend “a great deal for mediocre performance . . . .”

Ms. King explained:

“For years, union dons have wielded their monopoly-bargaining power and their forced dues-fueled political clout to block reforms, including higher pay for superior teachers and no automatic pay increases for subpar teachers, that could help New York schools achieve better results at a reasonable cost.

“All the while, politicians like Richard Carranza have successfully pushed for an array of new and costly ‘education’ programs that, in the words of City Journal editor Bob McManus, ‘degrade’ New York’s relatively good schools ‘while doing virtually nothing to make the bad ones better.’”

The failure of New York’s education establishment to make even remotely effective use of the vast resources it already has is widely recognized by the public, and this could make it difficult for union bosses and their cohorts to get the additional billions they want for the 2019-2020 school year.

‘Additional Billions Are Clearly Not the Solution’ For Big Apple School Ills

As this Newsletter edition is written, even Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who normally toes union monopolists’ line, is resisting.

“Additional billions are clearly not the solution for what ails New York schools,” said Ms. King.

“Any genuine solution must begin with curtailing government union chiefs’ special privileges.”

(source: February 2019 National Right to Work Newsletter)