Joel Klein's resignation: it's about time

Many parents will be glad to see Joel Klein leave as chancellor, who had no respect for their views or priorities. In DOE’s own surveys, parents said that class size reduction was their greatest wish for their children, and yet class sizes have risen sharply under his leadership.

He also showed very little regard for the rule of law; and faced multiple lawsuits as a result, including one triggered by his refusal to reduce class size despite receiving more than $2 billion in additional state funds in exchange for promising to do so. He misspent that $2 billion, and stole our children’s futures.

Klein was also an extremely poor manager and kept on reorganizing the department into chaos.

He is leaving us with a legacy of classroom overcrowding, communities fighting over co-located schools, Kindergarten waiting lists, unreliable school grades based on bad data, substandard credit recovery programs spreading like wildfire, and our children starved of art, music and science – all replaced with test prep.

Instead of progress, NYC black and Hispanic students have fallen further behind their peers in all nine other cities tested since 2003 in the national exams known as the NAEPs.The achievement gap has not narrowed in any grade or category. And we are the only city in the nation in which non-poor students now have lower average test scores on the NAEPs than in 2003.

It would be a difficult hole for any successor to dig out of.

As for Cathie Black, it is unfortunate that once again, the mayor has chosen someone with no educational experience, except for sitting on the board of a charter school with teacher attrition rates of 42 -71%, and a student suspension rate of 62%.

Our schools need a chancellor who has a compassionate and deep understanding of how our children should be educated, and I hope that Commissioner Steiner thinks twice before granting Ms. Black a waiver.

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