Tuesday, May 6

The Times and Khalil Gibran: why now?

Did you catch the 4,500-word story about Debbie Almontaser in the Times last week? If you did, were you as puzzled as I was about why the story was running now? The initial brouhaha over the Khalil Gibran International Academy appears, finally, to have died down; Almontaser's lawsuit alleging unfair treatment when she was pressured to resign as principal was rejected; and the school seems to be improving, an observation that's buried at the end of the Times piece. To me and others I've talked to, the piece read like something the paper had been sitting on until Almontaser surprised the author by offering to go on the record. But given that the school has encountered hostility from its new home, PS 287, stirring up controversial issues, particularly ones that by all accounts, including the Times' own, are now moot, feels like irresponsible journalism to me.


Anonymous said...

The story was very well written. It showed how this Principal was made a 'scapegoat' when NYC DOE didn't like how an article came out in the paper.

This article should be a 'warning' to all 1200 NYC Public School Principals on how they can be treated should something like a newspaper interview 'backfires'.

Timing> Takes time to properly research and write an informative article like this. I feel NYTimes did a GREAT job on the reporting.

Anonymous said...

I could not help but reply to this cavil. The first absurdity is the observation that "the school seems to be improving." That might be strictly true, since the school has nowhere to go but up. But all reports (including public statements by teachers at the school) indicate that the only constant at KGIA is a state of perpetual chaos. The school was a mistake. It's only justification was "multi-culturalism, and it needs to be euthanised and its students returned to the general public school population as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

What article were you reading? KGIA is an abysmal failure. Almontaser and her "Dream Team" spent over a year planning and organizing. Any Principal should have been able to walk in and run a school with a student body of 60 students. Many NYC schools run effectively with thousands of children. The enrollment of students was done by Almontaser and she participated in the hiring of the teachers. In this time of extreme cuts in the education budget it's time to take responsibility for poor planning and close the school. Taxpayer dollars should not be wasted. Arabic can be taught as an elective in many more schools for a lot less money.