Tag Archives: Bill de Blasio

Removing NYC’s Gifted and Talented Programs is Not the Way to Level the Educational Playing Field

One of America’s greatest sins is racial inequality.

This sin can be fixed if we fix our schools and ensure that every child, regardless of skin color, zip code or parental income has access to a solid education. But we all know that too many children are locked into bad schools because of skin color, zip code and parental income.

In New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza are considering a proposal in which the Gifted and Talented programs would be dismantled, along with other admission criteria.

I feel like the Mayor and the Schools Chancellor have good intentions, but you know what they say about those with good intentions.

Removing the admissions criteria and and the G&T programs is not the way to level the playing field. Why should the students who are working their tails off to succeed academically be punished because other students do not have the resources they have?

Granted, the numbers don’t lie. The majority of students in the New York City Public School system are Latinx and African-American. The majority of students who gain admission into the G&T programs and the specialized schools are Caucasian and Asian.

I was born in New York City into a family of teachers. I was educated in the NYC public school system until 9th grade. I completely understand that the system and how flawed it is. I also appreciate beyond words that my parents prioritized their children’s education above all else.

If there is to be a change to level the playing field, it has to start from the ground up. It has to start with the schools themselves and the quality of the education. It it is also tantamount that the parents and the greater community is involved. Only then will every child receive that solid education.

Removing the G&T programs and the admissions requirements into the specialized schools will not resolve the racial inequality within the NYC school system. It will only make them worse.

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Thoughts On Second Night of the Second Round of Democratic Debates

Last night, the second night of the second round of the Democratic nominees aired on CNN. Over the course of three hours, the nominees debated, argued and did their best to prove why they should go against you know who next fall.

I have a few thoughts about last night.

  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is not the golden child that she was after the previous debate. She was and still a strong contender. However, it was clear that the other nominees had her in their cross hairs, especially Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
  • Speaking of Representative Gabbard, it felt like she was grasping at straws. While I can’t speak of Senator’s Harris’s record while she was Attorney General in California, I can’t see Representative Gabbard being the Democratic nominee next fall.
  • There were more than enough one liners to go around.
  • The polls may say that for Vice President Joe Biden has the best chance to win the election. However, given that the polls leading up the 2016 elections said that Hillary Clinton was slated to win, I don’t exactly trust the numbers. In regards to last night, Vice President Biden was still not as on top of his game as he could have been. He was evasive at some points and used his former boss, President Obama as a crutch one too many times for my liking.
  • And finally, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proved once again why he should not be President. Called out for the fallout from the Eric Garner trial and the lead paint poisoning in NYCHA buildings, he was evasive and put his two cents where they were not wanted.

Readers, those are my thoughts. What did you think of last night? Has your opinion changed about any specific candidate or have you already made up your mind as to whom you will be voting for?

 

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Thoughts On the First Half of the Democratic Debate

The 2020 Presidential Election will be here before we know it.

Last night, the first half of the twenty Democratic Presidential candidates debated as to whom would best represent the party and go up against you know who next fall.

While there were many moments to go over, I want to talk about two moments that stood out to me.

Julian Castro made his mark. I knew of him by name, but I knew nothing of his positions and his potential policies. After last night, I hope that he will be given the opportunity to prove his mettle, especially after he announced his public support of the Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment has been bouncing around the halls of Congress for for nearly fifty years. It’s time to make it the law of the land and ensure that American women are once and for all viewed by the law as equal to American men.

The other moment that stood out for me was the question about socialized medicine. When the candidates were asked who among them supports socialized medicine, only Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raised their hand. I agree with the idea of socialized medicine (known in the US as universal health care), but I disagree that private insurance should be gotten rid of completely. I think that every citizen should have access to some form of socialized medicine, but I also think there should be the option of obtaining private health insurance via an employer.

Readers, what do you think? Do you have any favorite moments or candidates from last night’s debate.

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Dear America, Please Do Not Vote for Bill de Blasio

My Fellow Americans,

The 2020 election is little more than a year away. Among the many candidates who are running under the Democratic ticket is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

I beg of you, please do not vote for him. He talks a good game, but his actions do not match his words. During his initial 2013 campaign, he referred to NYC as a “tale of two cities” and promised to fix the problems that separate the wealthiest New Yorkers from the poorest New Yorkers. Six years later, those problems have not been resolved.

It doesn’t take much to see that his promises are nothing but air. The schools are a mess, the MTA and NYCHA are hot messes, homelessness is going up and the imbalance has increased, not decreased.

Like many Americans, I want to see a progressive politician in office. But I also want someone who follows through on their campaign promises.

Sincerely,

A Fellow Voter

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Amazon Will Not Be Coming To New York City After All

After a lot of hype, criticism and politics, Amazon decided that it would not build its new headquarters in New York City.

To be honest, I am disappointed. While I understand the reasons why some people did not want Amazon to build the new headquarters in Long Island City, I feel like the benefits outweighed the risks.

I also feel like part of the blame falls on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.  Neither was completely open with the public as to the application process and the benefits that Amazon would have received, had they actually proceeded with agreed upon plan. It was just a little too “political backroom deal” for my liking.

But what is done, is done. Amazon has made their decision. There are many, many other businesses that contribute to the financial health of the city and her residents. I just can’t help but wonder what Amazon might have brought to this city, had things been different.

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Bill de Blasio is Thinking Of Running For President In 2020

For many in politics, the idea of running for President is the ultimate political dream. The question is, should they run or focus on their current responsibilities?

The list of potential Democratic 2020 Presidential candidates may soon have one more name added to it: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a word: no, no and no.

He was not elected by the citizens of New York City to lead this city and then to leave us high and dry to run for President. We have more than enough issues that he needs to be focusing on.

The number of homeless individuals is far higher than it should be, there is an endless series of scandals surrounding NYCHA (lead paint, staff lead sex orgies, etc) and the MTA is a mess.

During his initial election for Mayor, he ran on a platform entitled “A Tale of Two Cities” He promised to fix in the inequalities that have plagued this city for decades.  While I completely understand the fixing the inequalities that affect every day citizens requires time and work, he has yet to fulfill his campaign promise.

Your responsibility Mr. Mayor,  is to the citizens of New York City, not the to the primary voters of the 2020 Presidential election. You can run in 2024, after your term as Mayor is over. But for now, I suggest you focus on the job the voters hired you to do.

 

 

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Thoughts On The NYC Specialized High School Controversy

We all know that receiving a solid education when we are young sets us up for life. Unfortunately, many students, for a variety of reasons, do not receive the education they should ideally be receiving.

Recently, New York City Bill de Blasio announced that a plan was in place to change the admissions process to the city’s specialized high schools. Currently, students who wish to attend these schools must take a rigorous standardized exam to determine if they will be granted admission to the school of their choice. For some, the problem is that these schools have student population of mostly Caucasian and Asian-American students. There are only a handful of African-American and Latino students whose scores quality them for entrance.

Some officials and parents are stating the fact that the students who attend these schools get in because of their test scores. The test is fair because it creates a level playing field. These students (and their parents by extension), took the time and energy to prepare for these exams. If they qualified (based on their test scores) for admission, they got in because of the hard work they put in beforehand.

But at the same time, I understand the argument that there needs to be greater diversity in these high schools.

I personally believe that if the parents of the African-American and Latino students who want to attend these schools cannot pay out-of-pocket for the test prep needed, the city should step in. Why should these kids not have the same opportunities because their parents do not have the funds needed for the expensive test prep programs? They deserve the same opportunities to prepare for the tests as their peers whose parents pay out-of-pocket for the test prep programs.

While I very much appreciate the Mayor’s thinking outside of the box, I don’t believe that changing the admissions process is the best way to fix this problem.

 

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Thoughts On The NYC Injection Sites

It’s no secret that drug abuse and drug addiction is a plague on our society. Countless lives have been lost and/or destroyed to drug use or addiction.

Last week, New York City Mayor  Bill de Blasio announced that the city would soon be opening a handful of safe injection sites in various neighborhoods. The purpose of these establishments is not to encourage drug addiction and abuse, but to save lives. Those who choose to enter will be given clean needles and access to trained medical professionals who will provide the overdose reversing medication naloxone to those who overdose. Information about treatment options will also be available.

I can understand why some would argue that these sites only encourage illegal drug use. But I disagree. I disagree because there are too many people overdosing and dying for no reason. If someone overdoses while inside of one these establishments, not only will the staff able to revive them, but they will be encouraged to seek help. The easy way out of combating drug abuse and addiction is prison. But that has proved to be a fruitless solution that mingles with other issues to create a larger problem. What is needed, from my perspective is not only medical treatment, but an understanding of why people seek out illegal drugs.

Only then, can we fight a winnable war.

 

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Why Hasn’t Shola Olatoye Been Fired Already?

For any number of reasons, many Americans live in housing that is partially funded by the government. That does not mean, however, that they are not entitled to the same rights as tenants who rent from a private landlord.

Shola Olatoye has been the head of NYCHA for four years. Her job is basically to ensure that the residents of these buildings have safe and comfortable apartments to come home to at the end of the day.

Ms. Olatoye has not done her job. Last month, a roof collapsed in a NYCHA building. Complaints of a water leak were ignored, until it was too late. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. But the apartment is now uninhabitable and the family who lived there has yet to find a suitable permanent replacement for their home. She also lied on federal forms that NYCHA buildings were inspected for lead poisoning, potentially putting lives at risk. Despite the fact that she knew the tests were mandatory, she still signed off on the forms, knowing that the tests were not done.

If that was not enough, residents have been loudly complaining about the lack of heat in their buildings for some time now. It’s February, the fact that this issue has not been resolved brings up serious questions of Ms. Olatoye’s abilities to do the job she was hired to do.

These are tax paying citizens, just because they live in publicly funded buildings instead being able to pay for housing completely out of their own pocket does not mean that they should be getting the short of the stick. If these problems had come up in buildings owned by private landlords, the landlord would have no choice but to resolve the issue ASAP.

The fact is that Ms. Olatoye is unable to complete the responsibilities of the position. Anyone in a management position would say that the buck stops with them. If something goes wrong under their watch, they must have a hand in fixing the problem. If Ms. Olatoye was working for a private company and not for the city, she would have likely lost her job. But she has not lost her job, a fact that absolutely boggles my mind. Her boss, Mayor de Blasio has defended her instead of handing her a pink slip.

I have one question: why hasn’t Shola Olatoye been fired already?

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