From Andrew Wolf in Wednesday’s New York Sun:

In September 1997, fourth-grade parents at P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village discovered that there would be four classes instead of the usual five, because of a slightly shrunken enrollment….  It wasn’t just bigger classes for their children, but the fact that class 4-406 was being disbanded and their teacher, Lauren Zangara, moved to another school that upset the parents. A letter went home to fourth-grade parents asking them to donate $360 toward the $46,000 needed to keep Ms. Zangara and the extra fourthgrade class at P.S. 41. Amazingly, P.S. 41 was successful in raising the funds virtually overnight, to the delight of then-District 2 Superintendent Anthony Alvarado.  But once the commitment of the parents to their own children became public knowledge, they found themselves at odds with then-Chancellor Rudy Crew. Such a generous action would result, he believed, in an “imbalance” in the system, giving more affluent parents and their children an “advantage” over children from poorer neighborhoods. Mr. Crew allowed the teacher to be retained, but the school district had to come up with the cash. So serious an infraction was this, that there was even talk of bringing Mr. Alvarado up on charges for accepting the parents’ generosity.

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