Parents and teachers of the Altamont Elementary School ought to look into privatization or chartering

To the Editor:

If you think education is expensive, try indoctrination.

That’s my twist on a bumper sticker sound bite that I’ve been seeing and hearing less of these days as more and more people seem to be awakening to the government’s latest power grab known as Common Core.

There are a lot of things wrong with Common Core but the one thing that has stalled its implementation in New York has been the Regents’ reluctance to rubber stamp the teacher evaluation component.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one because the unions that have been giving up teachers’ classroom sovereignty in exchange for a bigger paycheck now seem to want their sovereignty back.

Working hand-in-hand with state and federal government, unions have transformed the noble profession of teacher into that of a strictly conforming program facilitator. They have blocked merit pay for those who excel in their profession while accepting uniform teaching regimens that prevent outstanding teachers from reaching their full potential.

That’s like a union of artists that exchanges their right to paint whatever they want for the security of a government paycheck and then complains when the government hands them paint-by-number sets and tells them their jobs depend on how well they stay between the lines.

I’ve seen some perfect opportunities to introduce school choice to our system of public schools but unions always blocked those chances in deference to “progressive” political solutions. One of the best opportunities is when a school district has to grow and add new buildings due to increased enrollment.

Building a public school is very expensive due to onerous construction laws that labor unions championed in the past. So it would have made fiscal sense to send the overflow students to less expensive private schools.

While increased enrollment is certainly a thing of the past, declining enrollment may also present an opportunity. Parents and teachers of the Altamont Elementary School ought to look into privatization or chartering. The State University of New York Charter Schools Institute has a website ( that outlines the process offered by the SUNY Trustees.

It’s a rigorous process that will challenge your level of determination but another way to look at is that the threat of the charter may get the anti-charter political animals in our education system to keep the Altamont school open by any means possible — that’s if you simply wish to continue playing their game with their ball.

David Crawmer
East Greenbush

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