Life on earth is tricky;
Wits are never quick enough.
Can’t ever be too picky
Fighting lies and bluff.
Kurt Weil, Threepenny Opera
Watching Klein run around the country flacking his “Education is a Civil Rights” agenda is a little like Lester Maddox praising his own civil rights record.
In his lust for power the Chancellor has shredded the rights of the poorest and the powerless.
After more than a decade of litigation the highest court in NYS affirmed the decision of Justice DeGrasse and directed the state to drive funds to the neediest. Governor Pataki dawdled until Spitzer and the legislature finally directed the dollars, except, Joel demurred. In spite of the decision of the highest court in the state, the governor and the legislature, Joel wanted to place the dollars wherever he wanted.
The Contract for Excellence legislation required that the dollars follow the intent of the law, and, Joel, acting like a spiteful child, slashed the budgets in a range of schools in a cynical attempt to pit middle class against poorer parents and their kids.
His self-touted restructuring of the district-based gifted programs in a Tweed -driven model, as predicted, is a catastrophe, achieving the exact opposite of it’s goal. No surprise.
Another restructuring, the GED programs, from Off Site Educational Services to GED Plus has resulted in thousands upon thousands of kids “disappearing.” While the teacher union has focused on a flawed staffing system that created hundreds of ATRs, the most vulnerable kids, overage, under credited, who have dropped out of school or who are on the verge of leaving, are cast aside as programs vanish.
As kids graduate this week, and Joel raves about highly questionable graduation rates, the fact of that the vast majority of these kids are not college ready. Local diplomas (five Regents exams: four with a passing grade of 55, only one, any one, requires a 65) is barely literacy. The College Readiness Metric, a diploma, grades and skill sets that will prepare a student for 4 year college readiness is the Advanced Regents diploma (eight Regents exams) with grades of 75 or higher). Well under 10% of NYC graduates meet that goal.
The NY Sun reports Klein’s “dream” agenda at a Jeb Bush sponsored symposium in Florida, and, Margaret Spellings, of NCLB fame, praises Joel efforts.
As Joel and his master, Mike, strike out across the nation, seeking support from governors, think tanks, foundations, free marketeers and the anti public school crowd they leave behind a shredded school system.