above: a fantasy of famed good buddies as they scour the city for the best pizza. below the comments of marty markowitz to a nytimes piece
While I appreciate the article as a Joel Klein personality piece, perhaps We the People – and the New York Times – should evaluate the Chancellor on his POLICIES and the FACTS, rather than as the article points out: his suddenly resurgent political acumen in the shadow of Mayoral Control being up for review.
(Note that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if Mayoral term limits had not been “log rolled.”)
In an effort to depersonalize the below facts, which I invite the Times to verify, I will refer to “Tweed” below – not Chancellor Klein personally:
1) Tweed recently backed off of a short-lived attempt to ban School Leadership Team (SLT) parent members from running for their local Community District Education Council (CDEC). The ban on PTA officers still stands. The combined total is roughly 5,000 of our most involved and knowledgeable parent leaders!
2) In the last seven years, Tweed has instituted multiple reorganizations on the system (when all else fails, reorganize).
3) Tweed routinely opens, closes, creates, and reprograms schools and school buildings, and on occasion from non-charter to charter, without “consulting” with the local CDEC’s – in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of one of the few parent-involvement sections in the same state law which established “Mayoral Control.”
4) Tweed is in violation of multiple decisions of the New York State Court of Appeals regarding “systemic failure” and our children’s right to a “sound basic education.” (See my Letter to the Editor re class sizes, 03/01/09)
5) Related, Tweed has been chided by the State Education Department for taking class size reduction monies, and in 70 instances of schools receiving over $100k, the two metrics of class size AND student-teacher ratio both went UP.
6) Tweed’s “School Progress Reports” (i.e. the school letter grades) from the ironically named Office of Accountability have been easily proven to be a “random letter generator.”
7) The bottom line: the “achievement gap”, as measured by the differential graduation rate of NYC high school students at large (roughly 50%, as if that’s anything to brag about) and black high school students (roughly 30%, an ongoing tragedy) remains a gaping chasm, self-congratulatory subway ad campaign notwithstanding.
As John Adams said in 1770, “Facts are stubborn things.” But in politics, especially NYC politics in 2009, so is well-funded spin.
Indeed, “accountability” is overdue, long overdue. If in principals’ offices per Tweed, why not Tweed itself? If the Mayoral Control law is renewed without significant changes (as may happen before the Mayor himself is renewed), I would suggest but one minor adjustment – changing the job title from “Chancellor” to “Emperor.”
P.S. As I am a huge fan of both of them, I hereby offer to buy famous Klein fans Alan Alda or Julia Stiles (http://tinyurl.com/dmewkt) a slice of pizza and a beverage of their choice after the next CECD2 meeting (jointly with CB8), Thursday March 12, re the UES's long-missing PS151(www.cecd2.net).