Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The Board Of Education Must Seize The Opportunity To Terminate Chancellor Joel Klein While They Can
With the temporary ending of mayoral control the Borough Presidents and their representatives must seize the opportunity and terminate Chancellor Joel Klein and save the New York City Public Schools. This window of opportunity will be gone by the next school year and terminating the despised Chancellor sends the Mayor a very important message that Tweed's anti-teacher culture and "children last" programs must change.
While it is true that mayoral control, with some modifications, will be given back to Mayor Bloomberg, it is very important that the politicians let everybody know that having a non-educator as Chancellor has hurt the New York City Public School students and staff and has resulted in the wasting of millions of dollars that could have been given to the schools. The only way the Mayor will understand that is if the new Board Of Education terminates the Chancellor while it has the power to do so.
Under Chancellor Klein's leadership we have found that the two national baseline tests, the NAEP and the SAT has shown no significant academic improvement. In fact the SAT scores have slightly declined since the beginning of Joel Klein's tenure. Furthermore, the "credit recovery system", the dropout rates, and the granting of full credit for both semesters when passing the last semester also adds to the lack of credibility of the alleged improved high school graduation rates. A Daily News article by Marc Epstein shows what happens in Jamaica High School on how they used "smoke and mirrors" to improve his school's graduation rate.
It is under Chancellor Klein that has seen the DOE program of "education on the cheap" as he starves schools for funds, encourages Principals to hire "newbie teachers" and applauds Principals who remove teachers at their pleasure while picking up the removed teacher's salary after sixty days instead of one year. The result is 800 teachers have been removed from the classroom and another 1700+ have become ATRs, many of them senior teachers.
Under Joel Klein's regime, the classroom has not seen any significant class size reductions despite the State giving additional funds for this purpose. There, has been a corresponding increase in teacher paperwork and a lowering of teacher morale as student discipline codes are ignored by administrators and a mere student accusation can get the teacher removed from the classroom. The neighborhood schools are being attacked by an influx of Tweed inspired small and charter schools that leave the most needy of students behind and try to steal the cream of the crop from the neighborhood schools. For the large traditional high schools that are not being dismantled, the DOE continues to push more and more students into those schools. Arthur Goldstein of Francis Lewis High School stated it best when he said.
" My high school was built to hold 1,800 but enrolls 4,450 students. My kids sit in a crumbling trailer, with no technology and often no heat in the winter. So much for efficiency".
Finally, the use of no-bid contracts that are hidden from public view and lack of transparency in Tweed's decision making does not allow for parent, student, or teacher input into the education process, The result is that Tweed uses the failed "top down approach" while receiving little input from the schools. This results in a "one-size-fits-all" teaching model that does not work for many of the most challenged students and puts teachers at risk for incompetence charges.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, where are you when we need you to terminate the Chancellor?
Update: the Board Of Education wimped out and voted to retain Joel Klein as Chancellor. Too bad they did not have the "guts" to do the right thing for the New York City Public Schools.