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Michael Bloomberg
(Andrew Burton/Reuters)
Here's perfect example #349,973 of the ways service cuts that are minuscule in the context of government budgets can harm thousands of lives in ways that ultimately hurt government budgets. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed cutting $19 million from the city's after-school programs, a move that would leave 26,000 children without a place to go from 3 to 6 PM and their parents forced to decide between taking care of their kids and keeping their jobs.

Some of the programs slated for elimination, the New York Times' invaluable Michael Winerip reports, are absolute models. One, considered one of the three best after-school programs in the city, "is considered so good that city officials take visitors there to see how after-school services are supposed to work." The middle school chess team at another recently won the national high school chess championship. Not only will tens of thousands of kids lose out on programs like these—and in addition to the kids slated for cutting now, Bloomberg has already cut tens of thousands of slots out of the programs since 2009—their loss of a safe place to go after school will cause a ripple effect:

For Eridania Santos, a single parent of two, the program at P.S. 24 is the difference between being a $22,000-a-year legal assistant or a welfare mother. She particularly appreciates the daily homework help and the 20 minutes of independent reading. “It means when I get home from work, it’s not just, ‘Eat, do your homework, go to bed,’ ” she said. “I can have time with my kids.”
While it's unlikely that billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives one shred of a damn about whether Eridania Santos gets time with her kids, you'd think he'd see the advantage to having her at work while her kids are not just kept safe but helped to succeed in school. That's not just a moral, doing the right thing, kind of advantage (though it certainly is that). It's a budget advantage to the city and state of New York. Which is also apparently something Bloomberg is not overly concerned about.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 29, 2012 at 08:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would like to see afterschool programs expanded (6+ / 0-)

    and free to all families who wish to use them. They create some real opportunities to do different and interesting activities with the kids.

    Ours is tightly coupled to the school, and works cooperatively with it. We can't offer a music program during the school day, so instead it's offered through the afterschool program. The rock band program is very popular.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Tue May 29, 2012 at 08:29:51 AM PDT

  •  When I read the headline (0+ / 0-)

    I thought the kids were losing face .
    But it was bloomberg who was .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue May 29, 2012 at 08:36:38 AM PDT

  •  There is a bigger issue here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan

    (besides Bloomberg being Bloomberg)

    The cost-per-child in the after school programs could / should be brought down low enough to expand these programs so what's left of the middle class, and Manhattan is mostly poor (me and mine) and rich, could take advantage of these programs and not be thrust into the priced-for-the-wealthy private rackets. But ... and I'm pretty involved with school programs as an involved parent ... there is an epic amount of internal inertia combined with middle management CYA and Fed $ turf warring getting in the way of actually changing anything to make it more efficient. There is a lot of Fed requirement changing and staff education and conferences and most of this, as far as I can tell, doesn't help bring down the cost per child.

    The bigger issue is the continuing survival and evolution of the welfare state. I've enjoyed the twilight of the Great Society but we have to run these systems better. And any change from the top down by the manager/politician class will almost always be a Rhee like corporate con game. Enter Bloomberg: stage right. Public education is under attack and needs to be streamlined. I blame everyone but the UFT, as opposed to the group think around here which blames the UFT (we have our own blame the union daily paper via Newscorp which they give away in the schools).

    If I had answers, I'd diary. Since I don't, I rant.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Tue May 29, 2012 at 09:18:33 AM PDT

    •  The cost-per-child... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgnyc

      ...is incredibly low.

      26,000 kids at $19 million is $730 per kid.

      Over a 180-day school year it is $4 bucks a day.

      The median income in NYC is $48K, or $24/hour.

      If you watch my kid for 3 hours, I will make $72. The city income tax on that money is $2.50, so it more than HALF pays for itself!

      I am a Bloomberg fan, but on this one he is really messing up. Someone needs to tell him to fix his spreadsheets...

      •  That's not including Federal copay (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ManhattanMan

        Note I opted to not apply for afterschool because I'm under employed enough to handle it and because the seats are so tight.

        There's a strange budget game going on with the Feds right now (so a mid level public child care paper pusher told me). The city, for instance, is pulling their part of health insurance for various programs blowing holes in budgets which means staffing decrease.

        I actually like some of what Mayor M has done (I'm a native who likes the bike lanes which makes me a minority AFAICT) but too much of this is just penny wise pound foolish budgetary posturing. Like you said - fix the damn spreadsheets.

        My larger rambling semi-point was we have to propose ways forward rather than just try to hold the line against the 19th century robber barons and their generally poor white racist voters. I haven't witnessed a lot of waste but I have witnessed some and I've also noticed that there are far too many hurdles to taking advantage of some obvious cost savers (in the small corner of the welfare state I take advantage of)

        I, unfortunately, have been making less than 48k but don't think it would support a comfortable middle class lifestyle in Manhattan (though I'm working on finding out ...)

        If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

        by jgnyc on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:33:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree that this is a good program... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and that it should not be cut.

    But I have to object to this being under the "Labor" heading. That kind of thinking is why we lose credibility on these issues. It's horrible framing.

    Cutting those after-school jobs should not be framed as a "Labor" issue. It is an education issue. Or, since it lets a family hold down their jobs, an economic issue.

    Or, since it lets parents spend time with their kids, a family values issue.

    Lastly, to use a local buzzword, NYkers should call it a "quality-of-life" issue.

    Calling it a labor issue makes us look like we only care about how this will affect teachers -- when this is a clear-cut case of how government helps families, workers, and (yes) employers.

  •  1983 in the South Bronx (0+ / 0-)

    In 1983 I was teaching in a large public high school in the South Bronx. The place was chaotic with constant fights in cafeterias and classrooms. The police were in and out of the building all day. The absence rate for students was around 50% on any given day. One of our students was hit by stray gunfire during gym class.

    At exactly 3 PM, teachers bolted for the exits as security guards swept students out of the building and locked it down. Under no circumstances were teachers or students permitted in the building after the class ended. Basketball games with other schools were held in an empty gym to prevent violent outbreaks.

    The effective dropout rate was 90%, and the school was closed for a week that year  due to an arson fire that destroyed the library and theater.  

    Bloomberg seems to believe that those days will never return, no matter how deeply he cuts school budgets.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Tue May 29, 2012 at 10:20:53 AM PDT

  •  But Bloomberg will open an afterschool (4+ / 0-)

    sweatshop in your neighborhood where your kids can get vocational training.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:03:07 PM PDT

  •  Bloomberg would say, "Let the Nanny take care of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Australian2

    the children. She could let them eat cake."  What does he know?

  •  Is it possible for New Yorkers to consider (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, foucaultspendulum, Amber6541

    a recall, spread the freedom from Madison to Manhattan?

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:12:32 PM PDT

  •  But...but...government MUST be run like a business (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Amber6541, Australian2

    Especially a really, really short-sighted business that only thinks of the upcoming profit reports, not a few years down the line!

    That's the kind of 'business' thinking that has become all the rage in the past few years with businessmen such as...oh... Mittens Romney!

    Romney 2012 - You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

    by Fordmandalay on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:19:26 PM PDT

  •  Herr Bloomberg Doesn't Care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helfenburg

    That's the bottom line. He is so disconnected from the lives of average people (let alone those in poverty) that he might as well be an alien.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:19:37 PM PDT

    •  We can do without the German allusion (0+ / 0-)

      He's Jewish, btw.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:26:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, In Another Life... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm commenting on the Gothamist blog and there the rules are nonexistent -- sort of like the Usenet when it was populated.

        However, the fact that he's Jewish is something I already know -- it's what makes the snarky insult that much more a slap in his privileged face. But, I will refrain from being politically incorrect on Daily Kos and save it for other places.

        This head movie makes my eyes rain.

        by The Lone Apple on Wed May 30, 2012 at 08:09:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's all part of the bipartisan effort (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Amber6541, Australian2

    to eliminate public schools and replace them with charter schools.

    "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

    by Sagebrush Bob on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:26:20 PM PDT

  •  Raise taxes on people like himself, problem solved (4+ / 0-)

    Here in WA, a state judge just invalidated a new law that was passed by ballot initiative last year that would have required a 2/3 legislative supermajority to raise taxes, as unconstitutional. I voted against this initiative.

    Taxes are already too low in this state (except for sales taxes, which are the highest in the country at 9.5% and thus really regressive) and could stand to be raised. The state has no income tax. Services have been drastically cut back to close the temporary budget gap due to the recession.

    Austerity is idiotic and cruel. Bloomberg knows that, but apparently doesn't care. God forbid he should raise taxes on NYC's ample supply of gazillionaires.

    Himself and David Koch, for starters.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:32:21 PM PDT

  •  $19 million is couch cushion money... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helfenburg, xaxnar

    ...at the Downtown Athletic Club.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Wed May 30, 2012 at 07:32:50 PM PDT

  •  So, Laura, why does NYC elect the man with ugly, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorinaldi

    teeth? From the photo, it says I don't care about the poor in my city? Look, I have cavities.

  •  Isn't this typical Teabag hamhandedness? (0+ / 0-)
  •  This is an annual event (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSwift, Amber6541

    Bloomberg puts cuts in place, the City Council restores them.

    I would be quite confident that the money to keep these latch key programs in place will be there in the end.

    •  This (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oxfdblue

      Look, Bloomberg is far from perfect, but this is the ugliness known as the NYC budget process. The Mayor always proposes a budget that is leaner then the one he truly wants. The Council always counters with a budget that is far fatter then one that could ever be implemented given the balanced budget requirements. Then they argue for a while in the press and call one another names. Then The Speaker and the Mayor get together announce they've reached an agreement and praise one another's leadership. Council members (except the insane Charles Barron) will line up behind the budget and pat themselves on the back. The big ticket items (and even marginal ones) are rarely cut in the end (just look at the firehouse closings over the past couple of budget cycles). My guess is this program will survive.

  •  You make it sound as if Bloomberg is personally (0+ / 0-)

    paying for this out of his own pocket, or would be if he didn't cut it. He's not, it's people like me, the average taxpayer. There's a budget shortfall - Bloomberg has been very generous to unions, so the cuts have to come from somewhere. And where's the blame of Gov. Cuomo who gets to decide how much tax revenue collected from NYC  by Albany, he gets to give back to NYC? I'm sorry Ms. Santos can't afford her child - I didn't have one because I couldn't afford one and didn't expect others to pick up the tab, and don't think I should have to pay for hers.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed May 30, 2012 at 08:37:55 PM PDT

    •  Well, the children are there and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Australian2

      no one said she couldn't afford them.  She has a job, but it doesn't pay enough for her to pay for full-day care for her children.  We can hang them all out to dry and impoverish their lives and make snarky, self-righteous comments such as "I didn't have one because I couldn't afford one", or we can pitch in and help out.  I'm childless too by the way.  Maybe she has children because some Republican made sure that she didn't have access to the funds to pay for her reproductive care.

      •  That means she can't afford them (0+ / 0-)
        She has a job, but it doesn't pay enough for her to pay for full-day care for her children.
        The only way the city can keep paying for this is to raise taxes, my taxes, and I've 'pitched in and helped out' enough, I have nothing left, I'm tired of sacrificing for everyone else.

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Thu May 31, 2012 at 05:28:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Keep doing the same old shit over and over and o.. (0+ / 0-)

    This test prep crap and de-funding of public education has been happening now since the the celebrated anti public education"Nation at Risk" was published, and the suppression of the pro public education Sandia Report, right afterward. Wake up People!!! The foundation of this country, it's educated citizenry, is becoming more and more dumber because people don't care enough to act.

    Send the President a message by signing this petition:
    www.dumpduncan.org

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Wed May 30, 2012 at 08:49:34 PM PDT

  •  I think it is hilarious... (0+ / 0-)

    The First Lady is fronting an initiative to get kids physically activewhile her Husband's test prep policies have lead to passive didactic learners in the classroomand his alliances with ALEC and other anti public education entities have lead to the defunding of public education p.e. programs.

    We know what kinds of educational experiences are important for children. They are unlikely to continue under the current direction of U.S. Education Policy.

    Send the President a message.
    Sign this petition:
    www.dumpduncan.org

    Educational experience based on behaviorism is mind control.

    by semioticjim on Wed May 30, 2012 at 09:04:43 PM PDT

  •  Republicans LOATHE successful programs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    Bloomberg's agenda is to prove government doesn't work and therefore should be defunded. If the programs had been boondoggles, he would want to leave them in place so Republicans could run against them.

    Here's an idea: Why not fire half of the administrators in the school system? When I was a kid, my elementary school, K-6, two classes of 25 children per grade, had one principal, one secretary and one school nurse.

    There was also a school board of about a dozen people. That was it.

    Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers.

    by expatjourno on Wed May 30, 2012 at 10:22:52 PM PDT

  •  Someone needs to tell Eridania Santos that (0+ / 0-)

    she can't be a welfare mother anymore. They cut that program too, that was the work of our great progressive friend, Bill Clinton.  So she better teach her kids how to walk home from school by themselves and hang on until she can get home from her job.  Because welfare can't help her in the long run.

    Oh, did I say how much I loath Michael Bloomberg?

  •  $19 million? (0+ / 0-)

    Chump change for the billionaires who are throwing their $ at super pacs in hopes of making a change . What a change this program has made in the lives of NYC kids and families. And what a change it will make when it is gone.

  •  Trade-off (0+ / 0-)

    IIRC, Kevin Drum has noted in California that if you look at state cuts to education funding over the years, they are coupled pretty closely to an equivalent rise in funding for prisons. Net savings zero; production of educated citizens versus career criminals...

    To paraphrase that great educational 'reformer' from Texas, is our politicians learning?

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Thu May 31, 2012 at 04:29:21 AM PDT

  •  Camp for Billionaires and Dictators (0+ / 0-)

    I am so sick and tired of these billionaires thinking they have some god-given right to determine how the rest of us live. Maybe there should be a camp for billionaires and dictators to, you know, compare notes on how they oppress people. In the meantime, we'll throw away the key and let them "teach" each other how to be compassionate.

  •  coming a day after... (0+ / 0-)

    Coming a day after it was announced that Mr. Bloomberg purchased his 11th or 12th home, this move does nothing but rankle those who have been appalled by this foolish would-be king who subverted laws to buy himself an illegal third term, who has done his maximum to ruin the city itself as well as life for all but the very wealthy, etc.  We cannot allow billionaires to take over our once great city and land while they continue to lord it over us and steal whatever meager savings we may have set aside.  

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