Schools must expand for charters and pre-K

 

As reported by The Queens Chronicle:

By State Senator Jose Peralta 

There has been a great deal of heated debate recently about the place of charter schools in the public education system and how to best pay for making full-day prekindergarten available to every eligible child.

Often lost in the rhetorical bomb throwing and lawsuit filing is this: Adding charter schools and finally making prekindergarten truly universal calls for more school buildings. Lots of them.

If all children, no matter where they live or how much money their parents have, are to get a genuine chance to succeed in school, we need to provide them with real classrooms in which to learn.

For decades — not years, but decades — the children of hardworking immigrant families in the Corona and Elmhurst neighborhoods I represent have had to try to learn in deplorable facilities no one would expect to find in the wealthiest city in the richest country on the planet.

Forget state-of-the-art technology, the dilapidated “temporary” classroom units many of our kids are stuck in do not even have bathrooms. Stories of elementary schoolchildren straining to “hold it in” for hours — not always successfully — are not unusual.

How can a poor kid feeling as if his bladder is about to burst possibly pay attention to anything a teacher says? That kind of situation is as unacceptable as it is disgraceful for a great city like ours.

As a state legislator, charter school parent and graduate of the city’s public school system, I have an enormous stake in the ongoing debate on prekindergarten and charter schools.

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Publication date: 
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 14:17