An archive of articles and listserve postings of interest, mostly posted without commentary, linked to commentary at the Education Notes Online blog. Note that I do not endorse the points of views of all articles, but post them for reference purposes.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Moskowitz Aims Charters at Wealthy- So Much for Closing the Achievement Gap
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May or Bloomberg has publicly stood behind schools boss Joel Klein (r.) but unhappiness in private pushed Klein out, sources say.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein's exit may have been unexpected - but insiders say he was ready to go, partly because of escalating tension between him and Mayor Bloomberg.
The mayor, an unwavering public supporter of Klein through eight bruising years, had begun to grow disenchanted with his education chief, six sources with knowledge of the relationship told the Daily News.
"It wasn't as simple as him being pushed. Joel is very astute when it comes to relationships. He saw what was happening," said one source familiar with the inner workings of the Department of Education. "He wants to make some money and take on a new challenge. It made sense for him to go when he did."
Since Klein's announcement, Bloomberg has said unequivocally he wanted Klein to stay.
Still, the results-oriented mayor always made education his signature issue. In what is presumably his last term, he's mindful of his legacy, sources said.
Klein has long been a polarizing figure - accused of being a tone-deaf autocrat who pushed through key reforms without first winning support among parents and teachers.
Two recent polls, one of New Yorkers and one of registered voters, showed less than 40% believed schools had improved under the mayor.
The ma yor's choice to replace Klein may be telling: Hearst Magazines Chairwoman Cathie Black is known for her salesmanship.
"It had just gotten worse and worse. As Klein's relationships with politicians and the teachers became more contentious, he was no longer winning the important battles inside City Hall," said a source who works with both men.
The problems weren't just about image.
One of the mayor's key achievements - rising test scores - was recently called into question by the state's admission that the tests had been dumbed down, several sources said.
Klein also suffered an embarrassing loss this year when the NAACP and the teachers union fought plans to shutter 19 failing s chools.
A judge tossed out the plan because the Education Department failed to follow the law correctly.
"[Corporation Counsel] Michael Cardozo was cursing Joel's name," said one source, "and the mayor was furious."
Cardozo denied the story. "This is absolutely false. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Joel," he said.
Three sources said Klein was also influenced by his wife's wish to leave her time-consuming and travel-intensive job as general counsel at Sony.
His new job as executive vice president at News Corp. could make up some of the lost salary, sources said.
Klein rejected suggestions that his relationship with Bloomberg had cooled.
"I am leaving because I am ready to pursue a new career. The mayor wanted me to stay, and my wife is thrilled to be general counsel of Sony. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong," he said in a statement.
The departure might have come at a good time for Klein's legacy, as well.
He goes out a national hero, lionized in the documentary "Waiting for Superman," admired for stoking support for public education and lauded by some for battling the teachers union over tenure and seniority.
Test scores plummeted this year, and with tougher exams and tighter budget s, no one expects them to rebound substantially in the next year or two.
Harlem Children's Zone President Geoffrey Canada, who is close to Bloomberg, said he believed it was Klein's decision to leave.
"When I spoke to him about leaving, we both talked about having served long and hard and the wear and tear of doing that," Canada said. "I didn't get any other indication that anything else was going on."