Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Education Today

Today we had another guest speaker, Steven Melzer, who works in the Chancellor’s office at the New York City Department of Education. I couldn’t believe that the school district is made up of more than a million students; if it were its own city, it’d be the 10th largest city in the United States, right above San Jose!

Steve talked a lot about his seminar paper that dealt with art and its relationship to the freedom of speech. So, as grotesque, vulgar or seemingly inappropriate it is, the city can’t prohibit the piece of art of the exhibit because it hinders the freedom of speech in the first amendment. I find that really interesting when so many public libraries ban books for whatever reason. Isn’t that the same deal?

He explained to us the different way the NYC school system has been run the past 200 years, the pros and cons and how it may be run in the future. From what I heard, NYC DOE is trying very hard to give the best possible education to each one of its million students by using specialized schools and different ways of teaching. Something different that they do here is that in 8th grade all students apply or sign up to the high schools of their choice since there are so many in the city, each very distinct. I think we can take the NYC school system as a model to improve our own.

Also today we each got our Columbia sweatshirts/hoodies! Here’s me being silly with mine!

1 comment:

  1. Michelle,

    I take it by the fact that you look to be comfortable wearing your SWEATshirt and that I don't see any beads of sweat on your forehead, that it's not quite as warm today as it was a few days ago?

    Nonetheless, you look good in your hoodie.

    I can only imagine the bureaucratic nightmare in trying to run a district with a million students. Are you sure that the NYC DOE isn't made up of a number of school districts?

    I've been to their web site where they claim more than 1.1 million students, more than 1600 schools (with 325 new schools since 2002), 80,000 teachers and a budget of $21 billion.

    From the site it's difficult to get a feel for how the system is broken up but I'm seeing borough superintendents for high schools and community superintendents for K-8 programs. It'd be interesting to learn how they manage such a large amalgamation of schools.