Saturday, February 17, 2007

Spitzer & Klein on Same Page

Excerpt from NY Sun editorial on school bus crisis, Feb. 4, 2007

On the previous page is an article by United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who is fighting fiercely for greater school control. It belongs in the paper because, by virtue of her position, it is inherently newsworthy. It is also a stellar example of the demonization of Klein, at its core inherently unfair.

Weingarten creates the impression that Gov. Spitzer and Klein are at odds on school reform. In truth, the governor and the chancellor have parallel plans that hold teachers and principals accountable. Yet according to Weingarten, Spitzer is entirely good, while Klein is thoroughly bad. She writes that Spitzer views accountability as a "tool" while Klein uses it as a "weapon," leaving out that both men plan to track student performance and to act when schools or principals fail to deliver, and that both would require teachers to demonstrate competence before winning lifetime tenure.

In fact, the only real distinction between them is that Klein will hold Weingarten's members to account. So she paints him as a man enamored of "risky" budgeting that will "destabilize" successful schools. Hogwash. The only thing at risk under Klein's plan is teachers' ability to cluster in the least-challenging schools.

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