Beyond Klein: Nostalgia for the Past Is Not a Strategy; We, the Public School Community, Must Create Schools That Work for All Kids.


I hear a nostalgia for the “good old days” of the Board of Education … paeans to Rudy Guiliani and Ed Koch?
Rudy and Ed ran the Board of Ed, have no doubts, they hired and fired chancellors, claimed credit for everything that was “good” and blamed chancellors for everything that wasn’t …
And yes, those negotiated collective bargaining agreements … I don’t remember any monumental gains … and I do remember that Guiliani five year contract  beginning two years of  “0”,”0.”
As time passes that fish gets bigger and bigger, sports exploits more spectacular and former boy/girl friends more gorgeous …
The Klein initiatives have swung from tightly controlled top-down to school-by-school decentralization with absolutely no supervision or accountability, except for those School Progress Report grades …
In spite of Tweed fabrications test scores are stagnant, the gains of the late nineties/early 2000’s have disappeared … and support for and belief in Joel has eroded.
The State legislature appears anxious to take a close look at mayoral control. The law itself, that sunsets on June 30, 2009, is surprisingly simple. Much of what we have seen is the work of the chancellor, not the law.
Over the next month or two the Teacher’s Union, the City Council, the Public Advocate and a host of others will be issuing reports/suggestions/recommendations. The education public marketplace will be engaging in a public debate … a healthy exercise.
Ultimately it is the up to the legislature and our new Governor either to change the law, or, wait till next year.
Changing the leadership at the Tweed, the Department, the Board, or, whatever we choose to call it is not nirvana.  Our schools are in serious jeopardy. 
NAEP scores, the “gold standard,” are mediocre … and both the right and the left are questioning public education, as we know it.
Supporters of vouchers, non-union charter schools, schemes to create union-free charter districts, education management organizations, both not-for-profit and for profit, are afoot. This is no longer a “right” versus “left” fight … There is a broad spectrum that seriously questions the current unionized public school system.
Fending off the attacks is not a strategy … public school teachers, and their unions, must play an active role in creating schools that work for the most vulnerable kids.
Schools will be evaluated: either by the NCLB rubric and/or School Progress Reports, or by a method devised by teacher unions … and, unless we begin to see progress, measured by agreed upon methodologies, the opponents of public education will be emboldened.
School as learning organizations, cultures that encourage collaboration, where introspection, both individual and group, are core values.
The demise of the Klein leadership will be a win in a small skirmish in a much larger battle.

One response to “Beyond Klein: Nostalgia for the Past Is Not a Strategy; We, the Public School Community, Must Create Schools That Work for All Kids.

  1. Peter:

    I disagree with you. Putting lawyers and non-educators in charge of the DOE has resulted in 1000+ ATR’s and 800+ “rubber room” teachers. I don’t remember this happening before Kleinberg.

    How you can even think that having non-educators and lawyers running the DOE is better than educators that came from the classroom is a better option? I have a lot of respect for your opinions but this is not one of them.

    Our union’s first priority is to make sure an educator is chancellor and the removal of the non-educators in the DOE with people who remember what it is like to be in a classroom.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s