Eighth Grader: Learning At Home is So Much Easier in De Blasio’s NYC
13-year-old New York City eighth grader Veronique Mintz wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday that should shame Mayor Bill de Blasio, his Education Department, and most of the Democrats who oversaw education policies in the Obama administration out of their professions. In the piece, Mintz explains why distance learning has been a godsend for her education – namely because she can get so much more work done without the “kids who talk out of turn, disrespect teachers, and hit one another.”
“Talking out of turn. Destroying classroom materials. Disrespecting teachers. Blurting out answers during tests. Students pushing, kicking, hitting one another and even rolling on the ground. This is what happens in my school every single day,” Mintz writes in the damning op-ed. “You may think I’m joking, but I swear I’m not.
“Based on my peers’ behavior, you might guess that I’m in second or fourth grade,” she continues. “But I’m actually about to enter high school in New York City, and, during my three years of middle school, these sorts of disruptions occurred repeatedly in any given 42-minute class period.”
Mintz has found a special kind of sanctuary in the distance learning mandated by the coronavirus pandemic, precisely because she doesn’t have to be surrounded by the barely-controlled jungle atmosphere that pervades the New York City public school system.
Unfortunately, being only thirteen (although a very wise thirteen), she does not have a full grasp of the political decisions that went into turning NYC schools into a behavioral free-for-all. She puts the blame on students, she puts the blame on poor teachers, but she doesn’t quite get around to putting the blame where it really belongs: On the Obama administration and the liberals who have been pushing to eliminate strict disciplinary policies throughout the country.
“Over the last five years, two major discipline reforms have taken effect in New York: one at the beginning of the 2012–13 school year, under former mayor Michael Bloomberg; and one in the middle of the 2014–15 school year, under current mayor Bill de Blasio,” wrote the Manhattan Institute in 2017. “Though the reforms resulted in similar reductions in total suspensions, Bloomberg’s reform prevented teachers from issuing suspensions for first-time, low-level offenses. De Blasio’s reform required principals to seek permission from district administrators to suspend a student.”
The institute threw data from teacher and student surveys into deep analysis for the period covering 2011-2016. What they found surprised almost no one.
“The key findings: school climate remained relatively steady under Bloomberg’s discipline reform, but deteriorated rapidly under de Blasio’s,” they wrote. “Specifically, teachers report less order and discipline, and students report less mutual respect among their peers, as well as more violence, drug and alcohol use, and gang activity. There was also a significant differential racial impact: nonelementary schools where more than 90% of students were minorities experienced the worst shift in school climate under the de Blasio reform.”
When you tell teachers that they are racist for suspending students of color (even when they are the ones causing the disruptions and disrespect), and you take from them the disciplinary tools they need to maintain order, guess what happens? They lose order. The inmates take over the asylum. And soon enough, students like Veronique Mintz are better off learning from a computer at home than in the disastrous environment of the public school classroom.