Thursday, June 26

It all depends on your point of view...

An ebullient Chancellor Klein quoted ol' Blue Eyes this morning -- "it was a very good year"-- and lauded the praises of students at Bronx Lab High School (whose graduates he addressed) as well as the city's teachers. Celebrating "the boldest changes yet" in terms of school reform, he cautioned nay-sayers, "Don't call it experimentation. You never want to stop innovation -- it's what drives success."

What Klein sees as success, though, can appear otherwise to other eyes. For example, he said "g+t program [admissions] ran much more smoothly than ever before"-- an assertion with which we'd bet plenty of parents would differ. For middle school admissions, he prescribed a "do it earlier" timeframe and stronger communications, advice that would've been useful when so many parents seeking answers weren't able to reach DOE and OSEPO officials.

The Chancellor celebrated gains by ELL students, as well as test-score gains overall. The 43% grade 8 ELA proficiency, while "not a great number," still represents a gain over the 30% proficiency when Klein took charge of the city schools. Middle school "is our greatest challenge," he said, and suggested that the DOE might consider breaking large middle schools into smaller ones, similar to ongoing high-school reforms.

Lower numbers of Level 4 scores, especially in middle school, are a concern, says Klein, who faults NCLB guidelines for not rewarding (and thus motivating) progress beyond proficiency. Recognition aside, he didn't offer specific ideas on how to address or even understand lower achievement by high-performing students.

Asked about the 50- to 60-hour week many teachers invest in their jobs, Klein dismissed concerns about sustainability. "When people are part of the world of changing things for children, they don't view it as work." This may come as news to teachers, who work hard to meet and sometime surpass the expectations of their jobs. Surely, even the most idealistic deserve not to work steady 12- or 14-hour days.


Anonymous said...

Klein is out of touch with reality. He's a fabulously wealthy lawyer with no background in education at all and none of his kids even attended public school. Bllomie's daughters went to Spence and he's clueless as well. It's sickening and insulting that either of them could spin the last year as having been successful. Maybe for them... maybe for the bottom line of the myriad of 3rd parties they wasted money paying. That's the only reality here folks.

Anonymous said...

Tired of the nonsense:
I work in the OSEPO office for the DOE. Third party contractors hired to process all G&T, Pre-K, Kgn,Middle School & High School applications have no clue as to what they are supposed to be doing and, trust me, when I say that so many childrens names or applications
NEVER appeared in their DATA base prompting me to believe that the applications were lost or discarded or misplaced by this highly paid third party contractor. And the Clueless Mayor and Chancellor think they did something great? Try explaining to parents why their child does not have a school to go to in the fall. This is only a little piece of what is going on inside the OSEPO offices of the DOE.

helen said...

It's always interesting to see which city leaders send their kids to the city's schools (very few indeed). Excellent to hear a voice from inside OSEPO -- thank you for posting. Your comments confirm what parents have been saying for the last months as they've seen the admissions process play out. If you can write us again, please do.

Anonymous said...

DH works for a different city agency--Parks. Believe me, the contractor issue is EVERYHERE in the city. They over-pay tremendously for contractors, many times over what they'd pay employees, and the contractors almost always screw up. It's the #1 budget issue facing the city, but it's the one that everyone, absolutely everyone, ignores. Except the unions, and everyone ignores the unions.

NYC Educator said...

Thanks very much for the kind words about teachers. It's nice to be appreciated by someone other than the students for a change.

Innovation is fine, but everyone already knows what makes a good school--good teachers, reasonable class sizes and decent facilities. It's regrettable the Chancellor rejects all three out of hand as too costly.

I live in Nassau, and I can't help but see what all these factors add to my daughter's education every single day.