Archive for July, 2006

‘Miracle Child’ of Public Drinker Earns a Full Scholarship to MIT
July 16, 2006

THE NEW YORK SUN—July 17, 2006

OFF TO COLLEGE Cristen Blair Chinea, 18, and her mother, Belinda Chinea

OFF TO COLLEGE Cristen Blair Chinea, 18, and her mother, Belinda Chinea

If you’ve ever walked through Union Square Park, you probably noticed Belinda and Joey. On most days, you could find them there getting drunk. Not the falling down kind of drunk, but drunk enough. Belinda started the day with a bottle of vodka, Joey a bottle of something else. On some days the cops would ask them to keep it down. On others, Joey took a trip to the emergency room with a case of the shakes.
At 50, Belinda, who wears her black hair tied back tight, lives with her mother in the same apartment where she grew up, in the Bernard Baruch housing projects on the Lower East Side. (more…)

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City Adds Funds For Catholic, Jewish Schools
July 10, 2006

THE NEW YORK SUN — July 10, 2006

[Brian Leher at WNYC did a segment based on this exclusive story]

The New York City government is starting quietly to fund local parochial schools.

The City Council is allocating $1 million of taxpayer money in this year’s budget to purchase school buses for Jewish schools. Last year, the City Council paid $2.5 million to put computers in Jewish and Catholic schools.

Because the money is tucked into the council’s thick budget, and because the amounts are small relative to the $15 billion a year spent on the city’s public schools, most public school advocates and education experts said that they had not heard about the funding.

Critics call the money pork-barrel spending and argue that any available dollars should go to the public schools, which a New York judge, Leland DeGrasse, has ruled are $23 billion short of the funding they need to provide a sound basic education. Religious school officials argue that they are saving the state money by keeping children out of the public school system, and that it is to the city’s benefit to ensure that that the religious schools continue to operate. Jewish schools have long complained that because their school day starts earlier and finishes later than public schools they need additional transportation. (more…)