Today’s news:

BIG SCREECHER - Hey, mayor...Do something big for schools

Nearly seven miles of streets, from the Brooklyn Bridge along a stretch of Park Avenue to 72nd Street, will be closed to traffic for three Saturdays this summer as part of an effort to create more open space for recreation in a program called Summer Streets.

So the Mayor is willing to spend a million dollars of the city’s money for police overtime in order to keep Park Avenue car-free for three days. Doesn’t that strike you as somewhat frivolous, considering how he is not keeping his promise to the schoolchildren of New York? Crying poverty all the way up to Albany, the Mayor who took control of the Board of Education and made it the Department of Education (DOE) and disbanded the community school boards does not want to put up the $450 million the city was to fund the DOE and has cut each school’s budget twice, putting the principals’ budgets in a turmoil, the very same principals he empowered to run their own schools. Who is he kidding?

Come on, Mr. Mayor, your DOE under Chancellor Klein is not doing a good job. If it was, you wouldn’t have changed it twice…first into regions and now into the present system of principal empowerment. And, though you’re able to fund your high-priced consultants and bigwigs, you nickel-and-dime everything going toward our kids’ education. Despite the glowing press releases sent out two, three times daily by and for the chancellor; who’s got the time to read them all? The schools are avalanched with DOE e-mails. Maybe the kids should be taught to read them for the principals. There’s lot of reading material, lots of facts, lots of fiction, lots of fantasy.

What’s the matter, Mr. Mayor, not enough parades, street closings, protests and demonstrations for the cops to make overtime? Now, I’m not knocking our city’s finest. The cops do a hell of a job. But to deploy our city’s police for this PR gimmick is not the thing to do when principals and other city agencies are cutting programs.

When Mayor Bloomberg announced the plan, he said he hoped to encourage cycling and other fitness activities and "give us an opportunity to be tourists in our own city, and see it anew." So why does it have to be in over-developed and over-crowded Manhattan?

If that was the concept, why didn’t he do it first in Brooklyn, or the Bronx, Queens or Staten Island? Any of the outer boroughs, which are still a part of New York City, should have been the Mayor’s first choice and probably wouldn’t have cost as much in police overtime. No, even though this column was written before the first Saturday Manhattan closing, I’m expressing my opinion to say I don’t like it! Mr. Mayor, give the kids the $450 million needed to further their education, especially in this world-wide competitive market. The world is getting smaller and the jobs are getting scarcer. Our kids will have a tough enough time competing with their peers in other countries. Don’t skimp and hinder their education.

ITEM! Isn’t it ironic that I picked up an advertising flyer in Wal-Mart’s in Long Island and it was in Spanish? Wal-Mart’s rarely has these types of weekly advertising flyers in English, like Target, Kohl’s, PC Richards or Best Buy has. Yet they focused on the Hispanic market. Now I’m bringing this to your attention because Wal-Mart’s is the biggest corporation in their field and obviously knows what they’re doing. So what’s next? If we are encouraging our new Americans to NOT learn English, especially in our schools where 12 different languages are printed to notify foreign-born parents of schools’ requirements and activities, when will we make English this country’s official language?

Screech at you next week!

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