Schools Throwing Out Books

May 2, 2017 by

The mountain of books trashed by the principal ( NY Post 4/30) were in perfect or “gently-used” condition, despite the Department of Education’s excuse that they were outdated. Naturally they had to come up with some explanation, so that’s the one their gargantuan publicity department’s focus group hit upon and ran with.

The widespread dumping of huge lots of valuable materials, including dictionaries, began early in the reign of former Chancellor Klein. Included were many complete class sets of still useful texts and classical literature. It’s a bizarre form of asset divestiture.

The reason for discarding learning materials worth millions of dollars has nothing to do with their relevancy or timeliness. It is driven by an ideology that is not related to the subject matter itself.

Were the texts archaic, such as geography books showing the Soviet Union as though it were a current geopolitical reality, or  if they depicted European colonial empires as present rulers of the African continent, then of course they should be tossed out. But that is not the situation here.

There was no sound reason to get rid of tons of books in schools citywide in recent years. But once they made the decision to do so, you can bet your life that no consideration was given to donating them to libraries, community organizations or charities.

They treat taxpayer property with the same contempt they show for traditional teaching. The value of money has always been impalpable to them, because it has always been available to them in abundance almost on demand, no matter how extravagantly they waste it. Despite the tough competition among city agencies, the DOE is the undisputed champion of financial dissipation and silent answers.

The Post has targeted a single principal. But her mind-numbing action was probably just another case of following orders. It is neither an isolated nor a rare phenomenon.

She did not reply to the paper’s reporter. Had she done so, the DOE would have treated her like last year’s edition of William Shakespeare or cast her away as though she were a masterpiece by Charles Dickens.

Even rejected books have spines. Which is more than can be said of the Department of Education’s bureaucrats.

Ron Isaac

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