Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In less than 24 hours a petition calling on Obama not to name Joel Klein Secretary of Education has been signed by more than 800 teachers, educators, school psychologists, professors of education and parent activists. Many of them are from New York City, and know first hand of the "work" of Joel Klien and the privatization of the New York City School system.

From the petition: The administration of Joel Klein as Chancellor of New York City Schools is representative of a particular rigid approach to school change promoted by NCLB which we oppose. Rather than take the advice of educators, Chancellor Klein repeatedly championed and implemented policies that support corporate interests as opposed to children. The NY City Department of Education under Joel Klein has been run like a ruthless dictatorship - with no input from parents or educators. Teachers have not been respected, consulted, nor listened to. And little thought has been devoted to how the policies he has imposed on our schools have been destructive to the children and their futures.

To lay at the door of schools the many problems the of society - and particularly those that afflict people of color and low income - as does Joel Klein, is a transparent media manipulation of complex issues.

While focusing on test scores, he has consistently ignored the crisis of overcrowding in New York schools. Thousands of children are being given special services in hallways or in closets.

Rather than face the complex nature of student achievement and to work for substantive school improvement, Chancellor Joel Klein has joined with others to blame teachers unions and to bash teachers.

He has, at the same time, refused to reduce class size, despite repeated audits and reports from the New York State Comptroller's office and the State Education Department .

Joel Klein has repeatedly demonstrated that his primary goal is improving test scores even when these policies produce cheating and a focus on test preparation. The rise in state test scores that has resulted is not matched by improvements in the more reliable national assessments called the NAEPs. In fact, NYC was 11th out of 12 urban school districts in New York in terms of its gains in the NAEPs over the course of his administration, and there has been no closing of the achievement gap in any subject tested. The available data New York City does not support the claims of improved school achievement under this administration. This singular focus on test scores contradicts the educational platform of the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign.


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