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Private-School Hotshots Fuel Ed Crisis: Report
By Carl Campanile
Most of the city's public schools are colossal failures - in part because the city's powerbrokers send their kids to private schools and don't care about the education crisis, an explosive report charged yesterday.
"There's a lack of will to do anything about it," said NYU Professor Joseph Viteritti, in an analysis for the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.
Viteritti noted students at a majority of schools are reading below acceptable levels, not just at the 98 schools the state designates as failures.
"Academic failure in New York City is widespread and accepted. It is the norm rather than the exception," he said.
"Perhaps one reason that politicians, policymakers and opinion leaders find failure in the system so tolerable is that hardly any of them have children in schools that appear or belong on the SURR list [Schools Under Registration Review or failing], and, in fact, only a small minority even have children who attend public schools."
Viteritti noted that Schools Chancellor Harold Levy and most members of the Board of Education have not enrolled their kids in public schools.
That also goes for top politicians, he said. He noted Mayor Giuliani and many of those hoping to succeed him, including Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Public Advocate Mark Green, also send their kids to private schools.
Viteritti supports taxpayer-financed vouchers to send poor kids to private schools, as well as other alternatives to shake up the public school system.
"Perhaps New York is really two cities rather than one," he said.
"There is one small city populated by the fortunate, who manage to send their children to the best public and private schools available.
"Then there is the larger city of the unfortunate whose children are routinely assigned to failing schools, frozen into a life of low expectations and meager opportunity."
The report also complained that too many failing schools are allowed to languish for years without improvements.
Levy responded, "You think I don't care about public education? I'm a product of the public school system. I gave up my job for public education."
But he didn't say why he sends his kids to private schools.
©2001 New York Post
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