Does the MTA Affect Student Achievement for NYC Students?

Recently I was reading the New York Times. In the article it discusses how the MTA, the cities public transportation agency, plans to make cuts in the funding to help close a budget shortfall of nearly $400 million. When I was reading this article I realised that many of the things they were going to do are standard. Especially living in Chicago and dealing with the CTA. They were going to cut some routes, eliminate some lines, end the all-night services on some of the subway routes, and do this without raising fares. I can imagine that many people would be just elated to find out that they were not going to cut fares. As I kept reading, I noticed that they were going to eliminate the reduced fare rates given to students of the New York. I was absolutely appalled by this decision by the MTA. Once again, I am observing how people fail to make the connection between public policies and education.

Many students of the public school system are low-income. I remember the days of going to elementary and high school and my stepmom complaining about the cost of the reduced fare cards that we used. I think that if CTA has phased out the reduced fare program then we would have probably walked half way to school every morning, because it just would have been totally out of the budget to pay for full-fare transit cards. I can only imagine that situations similar to this represent the same paradigm that many low-income families are probably going to face. Parents will probably have to make a decision to cut into their food budgets in order to supplement the increased cost of the transportation for students. This is absolutely unacceptable.

Train

Are students going to be automatically excluded from this 42nd Street subway?

A decision like this shows that there isn’t a thought in the stakeholders that may be affected by this cut. This decision is purely business related and fails to use a  “socially responsible” framework. Unfortunately, it seems that the education policy makers can’t make a stand and influence the politics of public transportation although they are very intertwined. Therefore, I believe this situation speaks to the reason why the drastic switch to “school choice” adds to the problem with educating our young people. The departure of the “neighbourhood school” model has placed parents in a bind to come up with bus/train fare to make sure that their child has an opportunity to get a quality education. If students could just go to their neighbourhood school and get a quality education, agencies like the MTA could be “off the hook” for making a decision like that did. However, as long as the current education policy discussion centres around sending students sometimes across the city for an “opportunity” then the policy makers from education and public transportation need to sit down and come up with a plan. A plan that will make sure that students have AFFORADABLE access to the transportation that they desperately need.

If you would like to read the article click here.

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About mpal219
Educator, Student, Reader, Reformer, & Activist

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