"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bloomberg, Klein, and the Little Man Who Ran in Circles

I suppose it was entirely appropriate that Bloomberg/Klein would hire a lawyer who is a death penalty expert to devise an accountability scheme to justify its killing off of the NY Public Schools. The diminutive Mr. Liebman was obviously not prepared, however, for the petition and cross-examination that parents had prepared for him yesterday. From the Times:

. . . . For three hours, council members sharply questioned the official who designed the system, James Liebman. His testimony was repeatedly interrupted by boos and hisses from dozens of parents in the packed room. Many of them held up fliers with the letter F printed in thick black ink, a sign of their displeasure that they aimed at the television cameras.

Some council members said the grades relied too much on standardized tests and did more to harm schools than to help them. . . .

And the Daily News has this on the big chase after the meeting:

After insisting at a hearing that the Department of Education is responsive to parents, a high-ranking DOE official Monday fled City Hall through a side door with parents in hot pursuit.

As a brawny aide and the department's top lobbyist flanked him like ad hoc bodyguards, Jim Liebman dashed down three flights of stairs and into a courtyard, where parents and reporters followed him in a meandering circle for several minutes.

The issue, which was the focus of the City Council hearing, was the controversial new letter grades that have labeled some schools A's and others F's.

A group called Time out From Testing says it collected 6,652 signatures from parents upset about the grades and wanted to present the petition to Liebman, DOE's top grading official. . . .

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