Klein Of The Times

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, talks about the Obama education plan's effects on local schools, and other matters facing students and parents in the region.


Joel Klein

Comments [29]

Eliza S from Manhattan

This year, I have witnessed such DOE madness regarding the CEC. Ours in District 3 has, of late, been given the runaround or been left in the dark about school closings, new school sitings, zone changes...issues where it has a legally mandated role. Generally, DOE employee, John White, is the face of these shenanigans (at CEC meetings and elsewhere), and his elisions, gross misrepresentations and arrogance are a sight to see. CEC elections are beginning now - who but the iron-gutted could stand to run and serve under this mayor and chancellor when we/they are treated like ignorant loudmouths?

Not only does 'meaningful parental input' have to be given its teeth back when mayoral control gets reviewed, but the spirit of it has to be honored RIGHT NOW before we lose another school.

Mar. 13 2009 11:10 PM
Anni from UWS

I’m on the Upper West Side and you bet we are vocal! In spite of our warnings about increased overcrowding, the city ignored the need for more District 3 schools for years. We’ve been dissed too many times to let DOE continue to circumvent the system. The level and range of our discontent is rising as Klein and his staff close upper district schools without proper consultation and insert charter schools into desperately-needed public school space. There is a real news issue there, Brian, and those of us in the lower portions of D3, as yet directly unaffected by that particular tactic, are feeling the need to speak out on behalf of neighborhoods that – for whatever reason – have yet to find and exert their voice.

Though Brian pushed lightly to get Klein to clarify at times, I was disappointed to see how much he let him get away with.

Mar. 13 2009 11:01 PM
Deborah from Westchester County NY

Having taught in the NYC system for over 28 years I know a corporate czar is not the one to run things. Educators know how to create a stimulating, creative environment for deep interest and learning. Educators need to be at the helm...not businessmen! Businessmen and women in suits create discomfort and stress for teachers and like in the corporate world, paper work becomes their prime interest. Teachers have so much pressure day to day. The mayor and chancellor don't really get it!
Thank goodness I am retired!

Mar. 12 2009 05:49 PM
DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

Getting rid of the "Super Seniors" may be a
good start.
I'm talking about the young men and women,
in their late teens, still in Junior High School
and High School that are still attending school.
They have been tagged the "Super Seniors" by
their classmates.

Some of them, look way to old to be in school.
They seem to account for some of the assaults,
robberies in the NYC Schools.

I see 18 year olds in 10th grade.

The schools in NYC, especially the High
Schools, have become an annex for Rikers Island.

Mar. 12 2009 02:27 PM
Laura from NYC

Two things:

1) Principals are - right now - asking teachers to pass students who should not pass. Some change grades on "standardized" tests. I have seen it with my own eyes. You have to wonder what "improvement" really means.

2) I'm not sure that churning brand new teaching fellows (TFA) - who have no intention of teaching past one or two years - in and out of our schools is the best for our kids. But it sure is cheap! Unlike hiring someone like me who is still enthusiastic, with great experience. And still unemployed.

Mar. 12 2009 11:23 AM
Susan, DOE employee from Brooklyn

I heard DATA and TEST over 15 times in this interview. Never when you hear Klein or Bloomburg do they talk about INSTRUCTION. They are businessmen who know little of true dynamic learning but instead want to measure and subject our children to tests like mice. I find the love-fest with Klein that I have heard before on this show so frustrating. WHO will ask the real questions? Who will penetrate what is truly going on in our schools? WHY do people think that number-men know thing one about education???? Where are the people who studied education and put it into practice in innovative ways? Trust me, those that remain in NYC's DOE are keeping their mouth's shut and taking data- their spirits broken. Our children may learn to 'take the tests' but a desire and love of learning is rapidly being lost in NYC and sadly, the US.

Mar. 12 2009 11:12 AM
Patricia from Sunset Park, Brooklyn

First, I am disappointed that Brian & WNYC continue to give the Chancellor a platform to repeat his LIES, DAMN LIES & STATISTICS without taking calls from your listening audience. If that is a condition of his being a guest on Brian's show then I would make that a matter of public record.

Second, I encourage your listeners to check out Caroline Grannon's blog post on online version of the San Francisco Examiner about the lack of fact-checking in Obama's speech at

Mar. 12 2009 11:11 AM
hj kim from New Jersey

Re. the comment about South Korean children spending more days in school and the suggestion that this is a good idea for American school children, I would like to point out that South Korean chldren are highly stressed out and very unhappy with the excessive pressure that they feel. One of the top reasons why South Korean parents want to immigrate to the US is that they believe that the US educational system is better than the South Korean one, that children receive a more well-rounded education in the US, that children seem to enjoy learning more than in South Korea. I know many South Korean parents who live in the US and prefer the US school system over the South Korean school system. These parents really like that their kids have time for extracurricular activities such as sports, learning a musical instrument, drama clubs, and time with friends which doesn't exist in South Korea. I think that the idea of longer school days is a big mistake and that once again, US educators and policymakers are looking for quick answers and fixes. I remember the early 1990s when US educators were talking about how we should be more like the Japanese which was flawed thinking then as this one is now. Having longer school hours will not address the core problems of the US school system one iota. The problems in our state and local school systems are symptomatic of the structual inequality in our society in terms of ethnicity, gender, class and culture. Having long school days will only create more unhappy children and teachers which will only exacerbate the already existing problems.

Mar. 12 2009 11:09 AM
fredrik from brooklyn

Why is nothing being said about principals? We have a terrible principal in my zone, but nothing can be done to get rid of him.

Mar. 12 2009 11:03 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Testing is important, but it should be use to find out if the student is learning. But it should not be used to teach students how to learn.

Mar. 12 2009 11:01 AM
arthur from ny

this is klein, a good friend of that woman that was advising monica - he was hated in that office. the guy is a loser, ugly and deserves to be feathered and tarred for being an idiot!

Mar. 12 2009 11:00 AM
chris Van Dyke from washington heights

It's not a class thing - parents on the UWS side have the time, affluence, and language skills to complain about what they don't like and advocate for their kids. I teach in the Bronx, where parents hate testing too, but are too over-worked to take the time to complain to the powers-that-be. If class comes in, its that the rich expect to be listened too; the poor expect to be ignored, because the system usually does just that.

Mar. 12 2009 11:00 AM
tom from nyc

Everyone agrees that the gorgeous Tweed Bldigs show be a public space, NOT the board of ed. How did Klein and Bloomberg --and WHY?-- prevent the Museum of the City of New York from taking that space. It's absurd to have offices in there.

Mar. 12 2009 10:59 AM
Laura from New York

I believe strongly in many of President Obama's education initiatives, but I disagree entirely with using standardized tests to improve education. Standardized tests increase privatization of education and reduce intellectual curiosity. I don't think teachers should have to teach to the standardized tests - I think they should be able to use many different approaches in trying to engage students. I think if we focus more on helping students become curious about what they are studying, they will end up doing better than if results and test scores are the focus.

Mar. 12 2009 10:57 AM
ellen from long island

i am glad that my children do not attend nyc schools. our district is so good, not because the teachers are these "geniouses" (many have come from NYC) but IT IS FAMILIES! FAMILIES FAMILIES. Why is everyone so hypocritical about this?

Mar. 12 2009 10:57 AM
judy from NYC

The state reading and writing tests in 3rd and 4th grade are marked in such a way that kids who can barely write a sentence pass.

Mar. 12 2009 10:56 AM
mary from rockland

How can a great teacher overpower the effects of parental disinterest and a peer group that places no value on education?

Mar. 12 2009 10:55 AM
bob from huntington

fine. if the chancellor thinks air conditioning is not an important consideration for summer months schooling, would he--as a gesture of solidarity--consider directing the elimination of AC for all administrative offices, including his own?

Mar. 12 2009 10:54 AM
Leah Hooper from Bronx

If only progress is measured, what happens to schools that take on-grade-level students and keep them at on level? Theoretically a school that had 100% proficiency from one year to another would be rates less favorably than a school that went from 20% proficiency to 30% proficiency. How do we keep good schools from turning into "test prep factories" in order to squeeze "progress points" out of students?

Mar. 12 2009 10:53 AM
Kathleen from NYC

Does anyone remember that education is not supposed to be within the pervue of the federal government? Education is a responsibility of the state.

Why don't states have the guts to tell the feds to get lost? Federal dollars are not that great.

Mar. 12 2009 10:52 AM
arthur from ny

klien is a fraud. he is the bernie madoff of the nyc educational system. people will regret this in the future

Mar. 12 2009 10:52 AM
Henry from Brooklyn

Having SOMETHING done is better then NOTHING done. I am sure it's difficult to evaluate the teacher's performances, but that doesn't mean there should be no evaluation.

How teachers, or school boards, are not accountable for our next generation's education is simply BEYOND me or any concerned citizen.

Public education is going quick the way of failed Detroit auto industry. I would not trust my kids in the [already failed] public school system after going through it myself.

Mar. 12 2009 10:51 AM
Max Katz from Manhattan

Principals can remove teachers on flimsy and sometimes made-up evidence but teachers and parents have no way to get rid of bad principals even when they violate contract and DOE requirements.

Mar. 12 2009 10:50 AM
ted from manhattan

I think the answer for assessment is in webfolios. Digitize all work and that work goes with the child. This way we can assess the advancement of each child on hir own work.


Mar. 12 2009 10:48 AM
Mark from Astoria, Queens

How do you account for teachers who may have classrooms stacked against them? My mother was a teacher for 30 years and saw, increasingly, how a principal could put several "problem" cases in one classroom if they had a particular grudge against a teacher...or if they felt a teacher was particularly good with bad students. Is this fair to teachers and students? And, how can you monitor this?

Mar. 12 2009 10:47 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

With NYC being the first stop for so many families who first move to the US, speaking different languages, I feel for Klein and all our teachers. There just is not a harder city to educate students in than NYC. Things may get better from time to time, but it will never get good.

Mar. 12 2009 10:46 AM
Pablo Alto from Da' Bronx

Chancellor Klein:

If mayoral control is extended, how do you intend to improve the relationship between parents and their schools?

Specifically, how can parents have a greater influence on their children's education--and the decision-making process in the schools and districts--given the current Community Education Councils lack of real influence?

Mar. 12 2009 10:43 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

Does Joel Klein believe that the sole measure of a teacher is their students' test scores? How do you measure "achievement"? There's so much more to education than a standardize test scores.

Mar. 12 2009 10:43 AM
judy from NYC

How will special education teachers be evaluated? How will they have a chance to receive the bonus pay?

Mar. 12 2009 10:42 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.