AN OPEN LETTER TO CHANCELLOR KLEIN

Philip Howard’s op-ed article of 12/3 was prompted by the NYS Court panel which called for an “extra $5.6 billion annually to be spent on students” and a one-time expenditure of “$9.2 billion on new classrooms, libraries and other facilities.” Mr. Howard is worried that these additional billions of dollars will be spent – and like water on ducks’ backs it will all be washed down leaving no trace behind. Mr. Howard cited the example of Kansas, Mo., where $2 billion was spent raising the student-ratio to 13-to-1, and still the result was only a “little improvement.”

I, too, am extremely worried that in NYC the expenditure of $5.6 B plus $9.2 B called for, will be washed down the proverbial ducks’ backs unless we institute significant reforms.

A NYT article of Nov 19th cited Chancellor Klein as saying that 86 per cent of the public high schools are deemed “relatively undesirable” by parents and students. Thus, the problem of school choice which the Dept of Education assiduously promotes is meaningless. Too many students chasing too few good schools. Eva Moskovitz , chairperson of the City Council’s Education committee says the problem is not school choice but a need for many more better schools.

A worthy proposal that merits the expenditure of $14.8 billion is my proposal that calls for an expansion of the magnet high school system.

NYC has had a three-schools-only magnet policy (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech.) for the last thirty years with a combined total enrollment of just 10,000 – and only two years ago the City expanded the system to a six-schools-only policy, which provides for a total increase of 1500. All told, only 12,000 students are provided seats in public magnet high schools.

In the City’s public high school system of 300,000 (9th - 12th grades), only 4 per cent of our kids can find seats in the magnet system. Tens of thousands of very able and earnest students are shut out from the system, thus depriving them of a chance to get a first rate high school education. Let’s take the $14.8 billion and build a system of 40 second tier magnet high schools based on the following principles:

(1) One school for each of 40 school districts to serve the students of that district only.

(2) Each school’s enrollment to be limited to 1,500. Schools of 3,000 to 4,000 inner city kids are counter productive.

(3) Admission to be based on students scores within a band of the second highest percentile grades on the 8th and 9th grade test – the same test used for the first tier magnets.

If this proposal is accepted and implemented, we shall increase seats in first class high schools by 60,000 – and this is precisely what Eva Moskowitz is calling for (“more better schools”) – and at the same we shall be throwing a lifeline and rescuing 60,000 students from a system of dysfunctional high schools.

We live in a technological society which demands many more highly trained College graduates in the fields of the Sciences and Engineering. Our inner city high schools are currently not producing a large enough pool of first class high school graduates to fill all the seats in our top Colleges.

Sixty thousand to be enrolled in second tier magnet high schools will turn in average SAT scores of 1250 plus, not the current average of 950 of inner city high school students.

The way to increase the supply of “more better high schools” is to take the $14.8 billion and spend it on the creation of 40 second tier magnet high schools.

Thank You.

Yours truly,
Albert Baldeo
City Council candidate
District 28
(718) 529-2300


CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE ALBERT BALDEO DEMANDS CORRECTIVE ACTION IN CITY'S PAROLE SYSTEM



When I first picked up the papers and read of that horrific tragedy in which Ignatius Beharry was brutally executed and his son Mark was assaulted in their own home not more than several blocks from my own residence, I could not help but think back to my days as a special prosecutor for “kick-down-the-door bandits.” I visited the family, and sympathized in their loss. I thought those days were behind us. Most of the violent murderers I prosecuted were hanged, and rightly so, most said.

Yes, hanging was implemented in Guyana in those days, the early 1980s. One, Donald Reginald Aulder, had dropped his ID card in similar fashion when he fled the crime scene, the home of the Shivram family on the East Coast, gold jewelers, but it was enough circumstantial evidence to ensure that the jury convicted and hanged him, ensuring that justice was done, despite his death threats to me. Justice, yes, but at what price? The lives of Mr. Beharry and Mr. Shivram can never be brought back, and there is no amount of justice that can ever be sufficient in this context. That is another reason why I am running for political office. There is a greater calling to bring safety and justice to an entire community than to one particular family.

This tragedy is largely a failure of government. Simply put, violent criminals belong behind bars, not on the streets. Our community is entitled to, and hereby demands answers from the various government agencies, especially the Parole Board, who gave the green-light for this violent felon with a "history of robberies," to be placed back on the streets.

We do not want, nor do we need crocodile tears and meaningless condemnations from the NYPD, the District Attorney’s Office, or the Parole Board. They should simply do their jobs and do it professionally and effectively. Had the Parole Board not dropped the ball on this one, Mr. Beharry would be with his family today celebrating the Holiday season. Instead, he is another sad addition to the crime statistics. On what grounds did the Parole Board decide to release this monster? How come they failed to see the signs?

We need strong and appropriate measures to be put in place to ensure public safety. To this end, I have written to the District Attorney’s Office and the Commander of the local Police Precinct requesting that they meet with members of the community and outline to us what will be done to prevent acts like this in the future. We are hoping to have them address these issues at the Baldeo Community Center.

It is bad enough that our communities suffer from willful neglect from our local politicians but we cannot tolerate a broken criminal justice system that lets loose violent criminals onto our streets to ply their bloody trade upon innocent law-abiding citizens.

The most basic responsibility of government is to provide for the physical security of its citizens. Government cannot be allowed to fail in discharging this basic function.

Let’s hold their feet to the fire! We demand a full investigation into the Beharry killing and speedy resolutions to avoid another tragedy like this on any other member of our community!

Faithfully,

Albert Baldeo, Esq.

City Council Candidate #28


CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE ALBERT BALDEO DEMANDS A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO IGNATIS BEHARRY'S MURDER


Ignatis Beharry and his family were the typical Guyanese and Caribbean immigrants who came to America in search of a better life, to work hard and to realize the expectant but elusive American Dream. Like most immigrants, they shun food stamps and assistance from anyone, including the government, for to do so is "taboo," or ridicule amongst their countrymen and peers. They toiled and studied hard, building a life day by day, with their sweat, their blood and their tears, buoyed by their desire to succeed in this blessed land-the so called proverbial "land of the free, home of the brave." Some immigrants are trapped in America, not wanting to return home, for fear of being considered failures back home. Their story, mirroring that of many other immigrants, came to an abrupt and sickening end when a parolee, who had a history of robbery convictions, forced his way into their home, stabbed the father Ignatis to death and wounded his son Mike in an all too familiar episode of carnage, death and evil. When I visited this family to empathize with them, I thought how cruel life could be. I could not help but think back to my days as a special prosecutor in Guyana for “kick-down-the-door bandits.” I visited the family, and sympathized in their loss. I thought those days were behind us. Most of the violent murderers I prosecuted were hanged, and rightly so, most said.

Did the City fail the Beharry family, when the father and breadwinner Ignatis Beharry was murdered in this brutal way? Sure, it did, and we call for an immediate investigation, not only of the intruder, but of the entire City's parolee system, before another incident like this occurs. How many more of us must die before an overhaul of the parolee system is done? Why was this individual allowed to be a walking time bomb in our society, when the system should have seen the signals that he was not ready to be allowed back in society? Surely the city, with all its resources, is to blame for this horror. These are not criminals from abroad, but evil elements from within our society, born and bred in America, and yes, evil that lurks at our doorsteps and in our backyards. These are some of the products of American society that must be eradicated.

How and why was this demon paroled? How did he fall through the cracks? Or are there crevices, and not mere cracks in the system? How come his parole officer(s) never noticed that something was wrong? Should he not have served his full sentence, especially in light of the fact that he had a "history of robbery convictions?" Was the City negligent in its duties toward the Beharry family, which entitles them to fair and just compensation? Surely it must be, but what reforms will be implemented? Or would Ignatis life not be worth a second look at the entire justice system?

We, the residents of our community demand a full inquiry into this tragedy, and call for the speedy implementation of reforms that would prevent another recurrence of these abominable crimes. The City must not sweep its resident's lives under the rug.

We need strong and appropriate measures to be put in place to ensure public safety. To this end, I have written to the District Attorney’s Office and the Commander of the local Police Precinct requesting that they meet with members of the community and outline to us what will be done to prevent acts like this in the future. We are hoping to have them address these issues at the Baldeo Community Center.

It is bad enough that our communities suffer from willful neglect from our local politicians but we cannot tolerate a broken criminal justice system that lets loose violent criminals onto our streets to ply their bloody trade upon innocent law-abiding citizens.

The most basic responsibility of government is to provide for the physical security of its citizens. Government cannot be allowed to fail in discharging this basic function.

Let’s hold their feet to the fire! We demand a full investigation into the Beharry killing and speedy resolutions to avoid another tragedy like this on any other member of our community!

Albert Baldeo, Esq

City Council Candidate #28

 

 
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