Drain The Swamp




(Photo) Daby B.Carreras, East Harlem NY – the importance of literacy  

Ken Gibson

NYC July 2020

A major issue for all New Yorkers is education. One does not have to be a student or a parent of one to be affected by this. The quality of education is something that is a key factor in the success of any state.

As an example of this I might cite my own experience with schools in New York City. PS64, then located at 9th Street and Avenue B, was my first school in New York. I was initially put in the 4th  grade, after some aptitude testing, but then put back in the 2nd grade when someone checked my age.

I was a year or more younger than most of the other children in the 2nd  grade. The teacher was not very happy with me in her class, and sent me home with a note to give to my mother, who insisted that I correct the woman’s spelling. Rather than get me in trouble at home, it got the teacher in trouble, and my mother got me to attend PS19, a better school, located on 10th  and 2nd. It was better, but not much. She then home schooled me until we moved out to Merrick, Long Island, where better schools proved a challenge and I actually had to work to make grade.

The Manhattan schools were not my first;  I had started my education in Turkey, in 1968. I was five going on six, and was living on the Asian side of the Bosporus. It was decided that I would go, and so each day in Kuzguncuk I walked up the hill to the schoolhouse.

It was segregated, with boys on one side of the room and girls on the other. Uniforms were mandatory. And I had to learn another language; which I was able to do quickly, as so many other children wanted to learn English from me that we exchanged each others’ languages.

Turks then were very proud of a 1920s leader named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He called the teacher the ‘backbone of the country’. Most Turks were able to graduate with knowledge of two if not three languages, mathematical proficiency, and a good grasp of most other subjects. The nation rose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire to become a strong country, building bridges over the Bosporus and maintaining a strong economy.

I was therefore puzzled to see that schools here in the city of New York, in one of the richest nations in the world, were a mockery compared to what was then almost a third world nation. At that time I allied myself with Democrats, and was very opposed to the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon. My mother hung out with Congresswoman Bella Abzug, and I saw firsthand the workings of the Democrat Party.

One thing I must give that party credit for is its self promotion. Even when poverty was rampant, crime was a threat to everyone in the city, and the schools were a joke, they managed to convince people that they were the party of educated philanthropists. Maybe that was easy to do with poorly educated people, who did not so much as grasp that the Vietnam War was started by a lie told by a Democrat president, whose wife, then possibly the richest woman in the world, profited greatly while it was being waged. Today a top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, profits greatly from stock trades made with inside knowledge – during this present COVID 19 crisis she bought not only stock but options on Amazon when she knew that the closure of brick and mortar shops was imminent. History repeats, I once learned in school, so a crisis that benefits top Democrats does not surprise.

Poor children from inner cities were used on the front lines of the Vietnam war. President Johnson sent them to their deaths while his wife increased her riches far from the battlefields of Asia; and far from the run down classrooms of New York City.

Had the poor students been educated as well as Turkish children, they would have had more political sense. They could have avoided Vietnam, and avoided the scourges of drug addiction and poverty. But they were not given the level of education that they could have been given. They had what the Democrats chose to give them.

Flash forward to 2020. Are the schools better? I am far from convinced that they are. We hear of rapes, bullying, child molestation, and low test scores in these Democrat run plantations. Teachers are paid big salaries, and teachers are paid these salaries even when they are guilty of committing crimes against children.

This first of all affects the students and their parents. But it also affects society as a whole, where large numbers of unskilled individuals are left to fend for themselves in a high tech world.

Speaking recently with someone from Nigeria, a rather poor and not so high tech country, I was told that their schools, like Turkish schools, are much better than those of NYC. In order to graduate from high school in Nigeria, a student must be proficient in agriculture, able to pass tests on organic chemistry and cryptobotany.

Many students in the NYC schools could not even tell you what organic chemistry or cryptobotany are.

It is not only Turkey and Nigeria that put NYC schools to shame; most other nations have higher educational standards than those in the city of the intelligentsia in one of the richest nations of the world.

This city also suffers from horrific crimes – face slashings, subway pushings, children put in freezers while parents smoke crack, looting, murder, arson, politicians stealing money, you name it.

And yet, the cost of sending a child to school in New York City is many times higher than that of sending a child to school in other places where they matriculate well and get good jobs. More money, less learning. So throwing money at the problem is not the answer.

Putting more water in a leaky bucket never fills the bucket. First, we have to fix the leak.

We must address the way that schools teach, so that students come out with real tools for life.

One issue we must address is vocational education. Back in the day, children were leaning towards their majors in college and/or their future professions in junior high school. Future musicians were in the band, future mechanics, carpenters and welders were in the shop class, and so it went. Local businesses would recruit apprentices from the high schools.

This way, people went to work and not to prison. This is what is done in many, many nations around the world. It is not just Nigeria and Turkey that have set up sensible ways to teach and train their youth. In some of the poorest nations, education is seen as the key to success and it is.

New York City had strayed from this path over the decades; it must restore to its citizens a working education system.

This is not new information. People talk about this and the papers are awash with stories about bad teachers getting paid high salaries, the high proportion of administrators to actual teachers,
the crimes committed against students by members of the Teachers’ Union, the drug dealing in the hallways, bullying, you name it, there is a long list of high crimes and misdemeanors being committed daily against our city’s youth in the city’s schools.

One facet of working this out is to get parents involved.

My learning went up when my mother got involved, and I have seen that in better school systems the parents are involved to the point of actually teaching the children.

And this may be a necessity in today’s world of COVID 19 lockdown. The Daby Carreras campaign has been stressing education from the start – take a look at the ISSUES page and you will see this list:

Improve our Public Schools
Advocate for early STEM and Arts Education
Allow Parental Choice – Pro Charter Schools

Daby is looking with a lot of concern at how he can improve things for parents and children in the immediate future, and he is looking at the possibility of web and outdoor classrooms in which parents who have certain skills teach groups of students.

If you are interested in working with us on this project, please contact Daby or Ken at the email provided and put EDUCATION in the re bar.

Thank you and we look forward to a much better quality of education in the near future.


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