SchoolBook Town Hall with Chancellor Walcott

Friday, December 09, 2011

Education Chancellor Walcott and Brian Lehrer at a Schoolbook Event at Pratt (Schoolbook/Twitter)

Hear excerpts of Brian's interview last night with NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at the SchoolBook Town Hall event.

»» Have you gone through the school choice process? Schoolbook wants to know your "three tips that can help other New York City parents." Share them here!


Dennis Walcott

Comments [14]


And, by the way, single-sex public schools are a terrible idea! How did that happen in this country - in this city! - in the twenty-first century? Our public schools have no business being gender-based any more than they should be promoting religious beliefs.

Dec. 15 2011 09:02 PM

Under no circumstances should the standards for specialized high schools be lowered. These schools were intended, after all, to be "specialized." What Walcott and these other purveyors of "choice" want to offer throughout the rest of the system is actually a bland, meaningless sameness. Klein promised to strengthen neighborhood schools. His policies and those of his predecessors have done exactly the opposite. Finally, few people have much respect for Walcott's ideas or leadership. He was an emergency selection after the disastrous, but mercifully brief tenure of Cathie Black. NYC public schools need a chancellor with intelligence (yes, he/she should have been a good student who liked school) and vision. The citizenry has been forced to endure a rabid ideologue, an out-of-touch elite, and now a flacky for the administration. What's next?

Dec. 15 2011 08:54 PM
Edie from Brooklyn

My 5th grader scored 13 points below the threshold to take the OLSAT. As a result, he will not have the option of applying to gifted and talented schools on the middle school choice app and may be overlooked by those that have their own app process. I am an involved parent who has served for the past 3 years on his school's PTA and SLT boards. He is in a SOAR class at his school; he consistently receives 3's and 4's on his report card. He has never ever had disciplinary issues EVER. He would be an asset to any school, but if I can't move heaven and earth to get him into the BEST schools, where what will happen? I should not have to be concerned over what school he gets into because ALL schools should be created EQUAL.

Dec. 10 2011 12:05 PM

So what is the deal with this choice thing? it is utter BS. All kids deserve a great education and the only way to do that is work on getting every school as good as possible so kids can walk to their closest neighborhood school and have it be great. That is the only philosophy and theory that can work, unless you believe that education is not about the children but about the parents, which the CHOICE SYSTEM IS NOT ABOUT THE CHILDREN, BUT IS ABOUT THE PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!! it utterly makes me throw up. The word CHOICE and Menu of schools is disgusting, and the Chancellor's constant use of giving the PARENTS CHOICE. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE PARENTS, IT IS ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!

Dec. 10 2011 09:23 AM
DTorres from Manhattan

If standards are lowered, in order
to accommodate those that cannot
gain admission by meeting the
necessary requirements, everyone suffers.

Including those that clamor to get in,
without demonstrating the ability to

Because the school will lose the
reputation for excellence it has earned.

Unfortunately, those children, whose
parents are not interested for whatever
reason, in their child's education,
will lose out.

It's not their fault, but it's not the fault
of the school authorities either.

Children now have to compete on a
Global scale.

If employers cannot rely on what
the American Public Schools are
producing, then they seek employees in
India, China, as they are doing now.

Technology has made it so that they
do not have to travel in order to hire.

Dumbing down school admisssion
requirements in a very bad idea.

Nobody wins.

Dec. 09 2011 12:40 PM
rh from NYC area

The number one red herring in the whole "better schools" discussion is class size. Yes, everyone knows that class sizes over 30 can be a problem for any teacher, but class sizes under 20 CANNOT help the worst teachers.

It would be much better for teachers with large class sizes to get teacher's aides, instead of hiring teachers just to make the numbers fit. It disgusts me that people waste time discussing "class sizes should be 20 not 24", instead of figuring out that good teachers are retained and bad teachers are gotten rid of, AND we still have some money for paying those good teachers and services for our kids.

Dec. 09 2011 10:55 AM

Comments have been moderated in order to keep the conversation civil

Dec. 09 2011 10:50 AM
john from office

xenopoeta from NYC

The truth hurts I guess

Dec. 09 2011 10:38 AM
xenopoeta from NYC

WNYC: How much racism from "john the office" do you need to tolerate before you block him?

Dec. 09 2011 10:33 AM
David from Brooklyn

We have become the third world and lowered all reasonable standards to keep the inept from disorderly tumult. We can never return to anything we knew as a vital city and reasonable society. All this academic bla bla is just more of the radio entertainers making intellectual noise to keep their jobs.

Dec. 09 2011 10:27 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

It's clear that Bloomberg is trying to shut the public school system down - inch by inch so that no one will notice until there is nothing left and we will be forced to pay private companies (no doubt wealthy friends of Mr. Bloomberg) to institute their own schools.....of course at a price, and contingent on pleasing stock holders. Honestly, why don't people see what's really going on here? This is a blatant screwing of the underclass - as if the horrible schools they have been attending weren't bad enough. Now they will get online education through private enterprise which will have no concern beyond the bottom line.

Seems a good time for the wealthy to stop funding public education altogether, though. What with those pesky protesters. We certainly don't want NYC's massive underclass to be educated enough to understand what's going on and fight back. Much better to keep them in debt, uneducated, and of course, shopping.

Dec. 09 2011 10:24 AM
john from office

Why is there no discussion about the lack of parenting that is the main reason for poor performance.

So, are we to let stupid kids into the specailized schools?? Then they would not be specialized.!

Dec. 09 2011 10:20 AM
katiekwinter from east new york

I found the conversation with Wolcott to be frusturating and unsatisfying. He (and the administration) do not seem to have a pulse on the REALITY of family life for a good majority of students. He can talk about theory and policy well but is very disconnected and doesn't seem to want to learn more. For example, when Mr. Lehrer asked about if the choice system just perpetuates class (for example language barriers or single, working mothers) he said no and that they should basically try harder. But what about the students whose parents have serious health issues (including mental health), foster youth or kids' whose parents, frankly, don't care about education. That is by no means the child's fault - and it's our responsibility to give ALL students a quality education...of which choice can be an element - but not a solution.

Dec. 09 2011 09:55 AM
Roberta from Brooklyn

I was there last night. Very disappointed in the Chancellor. He really drank the Koolaid--not one word that diverged from the party line.

Dec. 09 2011 09:51 AM

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