Cut the Budget Whining
April 18th, 2002
Stuyvesant students added more whining to their already hectic schedules when news of the budget cuts and likely loss of electives broke last month. The whining started before Phase I of Preliminary Programming began. It has not stopped.
The budget cuts have faced almost universal disapproval, but the cuts come from neither Principal Teitel nor even Chancellor Levy. They come directly from the top echelon of city government. While the Parents' Association and the SU may try to get our electives back, it is a hard fight and unfortunately, it is also a tough sell.
The national recession and the events of September 11 blew a $4.76 billion hole in the city's budget. Instead of cutting huge chunks from specific agencies, according to The New York Times, Mayor Bloomberg proposed "a spread-your-pain, no-sacred-cow kind of a solution to our problem." While all city agencies are going to face budget cuts, no one agency will be toppled. It is only fair that we at Stuy pull our weight, as well.
Contrary to what all the whining may suggest, Stuyvesant does not have it as bad as other schools. Math majors will never teach Global Studies within these walls. While, as a specialized high school, it is true that Stuyvesant has a right to expect top-notch facilities and teachers, that does not mean we should be immune to budget cuts.
Stuyvesant has a course offering that rivals some colleges. And ideally, it should. But our electives are more expendable than, say, laboratories. It is true that a teacher can inspire intense interest in a field. It is true class discussions foster intellectual growth.
But it is also true that if you schlepped over to your local public library and read all their books on oceanography over a five month period, you'd probably learn everything you'd normally learn in an oceanography class at Stuy. While electives are fun and interesting, many are just too specific for high school.
Nobody is going to go skipping down the halls singing hooray for budget cuts. But there are some unexpected boons for Stuy students. Stress is the most common complaint in Stuy. This is especially true for the many juniors with full schedules-some even opting to drop their lunch period.
As Hong Li, a junior with a full schedule and 3 APs said, "There is not enough time in the day to complete all my homework. [The classes] require a lot of time and effort and just rushing through the homework is not going to help me."
Fewer classes means less homework, fewer tests, less stress. With the budget cuts, we'll be left with more time for extracurriculars, sleep, and of course, whining.