Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mr. Klein Makes a Concession

In a remarkable turnaround, NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has decided to continue to allow a hugely controversial language, to wit, English, to be taught at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn. Mr. Klein had previously dismissed the entire English department at Lafayette.

There has been much criticism of the Chancellor and his policies of late, and a good deal of this criticism has been in English. Diane Ravitch, for example, has been a highly vocal critic of the Bloomberg/ Klein approach to education. Ms. Ravitch is known for writing not only columns, but entire books, in English.

Furthermore, Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters has not only criticized Mr. Klein, but also repeatedly called for reforms that might actually cost money (while utterly failing to enrich the private sector). Ms. Haimson, outrageously, has done this simply because such reforms would better educate public school children. This notion is completely at odds with the oft-stated "reforms" advocated by the Chancellor.

As if this were not enough, Ms. Haimson also persists in recording her opinions in English. This language has been a thorn in the side of Mr. Klein for some time now, and it was thought that by eliminating it students and their parents would be spared the unpleasant spectacle of disagreement.

However, it was later learned that many students at Lafayette still communicated exclusively in English, and that English was still the only means of communicating Mr. Klein's "reform" agenda to these students and their families.

So Mr. Klein made the Solomon-like gesture of restoring two English teachers (and dumping the other two into the Absent Teacher Reserve, so that he could make sure they never work again, and then excoriate them for daring to draw paychecks). That's the way things work in Mr. Bloomberg's New York.

But Mr. Klein is surely working on a way to get rid of that awful language one of these days.
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