See for example, this petition, which as of this morning had been signed by over 2500 parents and educators nationwide, and this petition, signed by over 2000 more, as well as the eloquent comments posted to our blog about this issue.
Even the national media has finally picked up on the fact that Joel Klein is not universally adored among NYC parents; see this excerpt from today’s US News and World report:
We just received a copy of the following letter to Obama, from an
I am a
By far, Chancellor Klein’s most egregious transgression relates to the serious overcrowding of
During Chancellor Klein’s tenure,
It goes on to detail numerous Department of Education failures in everything from flawed enrollment projections to the fact that capacity needs are understated and are “not sufficiently forward-thinking or responsive to changing neighborhoods”.
In April, 2008, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer released a report entitled, “Crowded Out”, a borough-wide analysis of residential development and its relationship to school capacity. In a press release dated September 5, 2008 discussing the report, Stringer says, “While the Department of Education continues to announce the opening of schools – either new or replacement facilities – it is not keeping up with the pace of new development, and with the commitment New York families are making to stay in the city and use their neighborhood public schools.”
What does this mean for
I applaud our teachers for making the necessary sacrifices and for doing their best under the circumstances but teachers shouldn’t have to work in these conditions and children shouldn’t have to learn in these conditions. With the loss of these classrooms, outside of lunch and recess, our children now leave their classrooms only twice a week: once for gym and once for art. There is a natural benefit to some physical movement between classrooms during the day but our children don’t have that option. Besides classroom issues, there are numerous teachers who work out of closets. We also have some children with no choice but to have lunch at 10:30am because of the number of classes our cafeteria must accommodate.
Because of Chancellor Klein’s failure to make certain that adequate space exists to meet the demand for public school, the conditions under which many
Test scores affect our school’s ‘report card’, compensation for our principals and teachers and our school’s funding. I recently learned that my son’s class would have no publishing parties (celebrations of the children’s writing pieces to which parents and other family members are invited typically held several times throughout the school year) and no field trips with the exception of an hour-long museum trip for the first five months of the school year because upcoming testing and the preparation for those tests requires too much time.Chancellor Klein’s excessive emphasis on testing is at odds with essentially all other partners in a child’s education: parents, the children themselves, teachers, administrators. Yet the emphasis continues so that now we see the Department of Education instituting standardized testing for kindergartners! Please see a New York Times article discussing results of a survey in which 85% of
Can our country really afford to have 85% of its teachers dissatisfied with how the Secretary of Education leads?
Finally, Chancellor Klein has consistently conducted himself in an authoritarian fashion. Parents, in particular, have repeatedly been disenfranchised and diminished. While great show is made of soliciting input from parents, teachers and administrators, in fact, it is just that . . .show. Parents realize that their input means little in the eyes of the Department of Education, as run by Chancellor Klein.Chancellor Klein’s poor performance in his role as highest-ranking education official in