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Joel Klein Left Me Behind

November 10, 2010

By Carol Boyd

The resignation of NYC public schools Chancellor Joel Klein has given a new meaning to the phrase “Joel Klein left me behind” that was chanted by the throng of angry Bronx parents outside the Department of Education’s (DoE) District 9 headquarters on Monday, despite the gusting winds and hail. Although the Chancellor calls Tweed Courthouse home, parents descended on the District 9 office because so many of the 239,000 children who suffered drastic declines in standardized test scores are enrolled in Bronx schools. Historically, District 9 has been the 2nd lowest performing district in the city. An attempt to deliver a failing report card to Mr. Klein in effigy was thwarted by the building security staff. The document gave the Chancellor a grade of “F” for failing to ensure that schools were providing intervention services for these struggling students.

After more than 8 years as Chancellor, a promising new venture in the private sector awaits Mr. Klein in a mere 53 days. Meanwhile for the more than 5,000 NYC students currently repeating 8th grade who may not receive the academic support they so desperately need, what awaits them is continued under-achievement and less likelihood of high school graduation. During Klein’s tenure the school system has undergone many reforms to the point where there have been reforms of reforms. Does anyone remember the regions?

Mr. Klein’s resignation has been a subject of speculation since the third term re-election of the Mayor. He will be succeeded by Cathleen Black, Chairperson for Hearst Magazines, who has had a lengthy career in the publishing industry. Perhaps, this affiliation will give her an inside track on raising reading proficiency in the city? A non-educator, the NY State Board of Regents will have to grant yet another waiver to the DoE to allow her to serve. Ms. Black is on the Board of Directors of Harlem Village Academy Charter School, and has declared that she will increase the number of charters in NYC by 100 additional schools. Sounds like more of the same old stuff.

Could it be true “Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don’t”?

Parents rally outside DOE's District 9 offices for services for struggling students

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