Even though half of the kids probably won't even be showing up today, it is technically the first day of school! But this year is getting off to a rocky start, with accusations that the Mayor isn't doing his job, and one borough threatening to secede over cuts to school bus services. Besides, we totally don't know what to wear.
Though many parents have boycotted today as the first day of school since kids will be off the rest of the week for Rosh Hashanah, students who decide to attend class may have a harder time getting there. Budget cuts slashed school bus services for 7th and 8th graders across the city, and though the city claims it will save them $1.5 to $3 million, it's leaving at least 3,000 students with few transportation options.
Councilman Vincent Ignizio said, “This was so arbitrary. Here’s how we can save $3.4 million. Don’t worry about the kids. They’ll find a way to get to school." When asked how she will get to school now, student Victoria Burgarella told WCBS, “I don’t know. I guess I’m going to walk or get there somehow." At least now she can tell her grandkids she walked a mile to school every day, uphill in the snow, both ways.
By the time they get there, students may also find their work has gotten a lot harder. New, strenuous state standards have made standardized tests much harder to pass. In 2008-2009 school year, 82% of students passed the state math test and 69% passed the English test, but last school year, just 54% passed the math exam and 42% passed English. The tests were made harder after studies showed students were graduating high school not properly prepared for college work. State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch told WABC, "By making the tests so not comprehensive and so predictable, we were telling parents across the state, your child is proficient." Or they're not, in which case they can just graduate when they're 21.