In light of the local LIC school hubbub, focused around the almost sure death of the PS78 middle school, there have been a lot of suggestions going around on a large email chain as to how to secure more capacity/another school, and possibly stave off the elimination.
As I am wont to do, I proposed another option to this email chain:
I think we should turn this crisis into an opportunity. I don’t know anything about school-building timelines, zoning, or what is and what is not allowed, but I do know there’s already a brand new school at the bottom of Center Boulevard, and that we, very concretely, lost what we were promised. So through backdoor channels, I would make it clear to our politicians that we are owed one, and what we want in return is for both that building’s middle and high schools, to be zoned for LIC. Enough with all the other giveaways and projects – this is the only thing that really matters
The reality is, with all the building going on here now and the immediate absorption of 900+ units in HPS, we’ll need the capacity anyway. Furthermore, if we’re able to attain this, we’ll have a K-12 program that we can really dedicate ourselves to, both time-wise and financially, and turn it into a system on par with those in the best public school districts.
Having given this subject some thought in the last week, I’m increasingly realizing that the concept of having kids travel all over the city for high school, or even middle school, might be more detrimental than the benefits of choice and the ability to mainstream other socioeconomic backgrounds. First of all, there is a dead weight loss1 for every student in terms of commuting time.
Secondly, and more importantly, it’s difficult to get parent and community support for a school where students are only committed for four years, and most are transients. Think of what makes the most prestigious suburban public school districts such. Parents take pride – they own it. For example, does anyone in elementary school attend any of our local high school’s football or basketball games? This is a standard morale building event in the suburbs. Every kid looks up to the older kids and wants to emulate them. Yeah ok, money plays a factor in it too, we’ve already spoken about that, but I truly believe that ownership of a school trumps money. The knowledge and long term planning that goes into those systems that are K-12 are an important component of their success.
So let’s turn lemons into lemonade – be realistic, no new building is going to happen in time2, and a makeshift like the BOE building is a compromise we shouldn’t have to make for our kids. As the summaries of last night’s meeting with Melinda Katz seemed to indicate, the politicians are scrambling to make things right. So let’s go in for the big ask and demand they zone the middle school/high school on Center Boulevard for LIC. We promise we’ll take good care of it.
A Dunkin’ Donuts is Slated for 23-04 Jackson Avenue – I know, I know, this should have been the headline
Long Stalled Hunters Point Library is Finally Happening – the groundbreaking ceremony, take-two, is this Saturday
New Medical Facility Planned for LIC – yeah, we know
Elghanayan Scion Who Grew Up with the New LIC – all about Max
The Clock Tower is Now a Landmark – no news here
- Definition of ‘Deadweight Loss‘ – It is the loss of economic efficiency in terms of utility for consumers/producers such that the optimal or allocative efficiency is not achieved. [↩]
- though we should definitely continue to push for a new school in Court Square – it should have been done w/ 5Pointz [↩]