Klein must go!

Klein must go!

No matter what contract is negotiated, New Action believes Chancellor Klein must be replaced. We have stated on several occasions that we cannot tolerate him for another four years.  No chancellor has done more to destroy, ignore, and disrespect teachers, parents and students. Chancellor Klein has continued to scapegoat teachers and the UFT at every turn for his own failure to reform the educational system. The glowing statistics used to hail “advances” made under his watch has been debunked by Diane Ravitch in an April 10th New York Times Op-Ed piece “Mayor Bloomberg’s Crib Sheet. “ She states:

“On the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress – widely acknowledged as the gold standard of the testing industry – New York City showed almost no academic improvement between 2003, when the mayor’s reforms were introduced, and 2007. There were no significant gains for New York City’s students – black, Hispanic, white, Asian or lower-income – in fourth grade reading, eighth grade reading or eighth grade mathematics. In fourth grade math, pupils showed significant gains (although the validity of this is suspect because an unusually large proportion – 25% -of students were given extra time and help)…”

A recent report by the Center for NYC Affairs at the New School  showed that while Klein closed one high school after another he had no plan to deal with the thousands of students who had to seek placement. While the new schools gave choice to many students, 26 out of 36 remaining large high schools saw enrollment soar. Thousands of students were assigned to schools that they did not choose or were inappropriate for them. Students as well as staff became collateral damage.

In June 2008, the UFT initiated a membership survey regarding the performance of Chancellor Klein. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (between 75% and 85% on each question) said Klein was doing a poor job of running the schools. Klein has indicated that he would like to continue as Chancellor under the next Mayor. In May 2009, our union has once again initiated an Accountability Survey. New Action will not be surprised if the survey shows an extreme dislike for Joel Klein’s policies. If we are correct, the UFT MUST launch a campaign to replace him. We should craft such a campaign under the guise of “What we need in the next chancellor!” New Action believes that the union must campaign for a chancellor who:
   Is a realistic and progressive educator, not a corporate attorney
   Respects educators and parents and will make collegiality the centerpiece of his or her policies
   Accepts tenure and respects due process rights
   Understands that experience counts and end the on going discrimination against senior teacher and ATR’s
   Makes a commitment to funding the classrooms first and restoring draconian budget cuts
   Understands the validity and legality of a negotiated contract
   Stops closing schools wholesale based on unproven statistical data

Since the reelection of Bloomberg is not guaranteed, a new mayor, hopefully Bill Thompson, would have to select a new chancellor. In any case, the public must be educated.