Monday, September 3, 2007
Another NY Times Puff Piece on Klein
Check today's Times' article written by David Herzenhorn and Jennifer Medina. The vast amount of criticism out there of BloomKlein is basically muted with a mild rebuke from Diane Ravitch (I'm sure she said a lot more. See below.) Note how there's no quote from Weingarten. Since she's really on their side, what can she say? Better nothing than the usual, "There have been some positives and negatives.)
Herzenhorn has not been happy when this blog has characterized the Times coverage as being basically uncritical of the catastrophes visited upon students and teachers and parents by BloomKlein and even sent me a sarcastic email when I claimed Klein was given credit for hiring a "persistent critic" in Martine Guerrier (see our post here), when in fact Martine was the mildest sort of critic, as I pointed out in my response where I asked him to point to one example other than her vote against the 3rd grade retention plan? I never heard from him again.
Since the people running the Times have been totally supportive of BloomKlein. So have the people running the Post, News and Sun, but ironically, we've seen more aggressive reporting on the foibles of BloomKlein by reporters from these papers, though there was nary a word on the Feb 28 rally – which even scared the UFT leadership over the possibility they could not control the planned rally on May 9th – and the aftermath that lead to a deal with the UFT in April which ended up killing the rally. (You can follow all of this by checking the archives from March-May).
How the Times does a piece like they did today without some word from Leonie Haimson is beyond me. The smart reporters in this city are on her listserv and get some picture of the kind of blistering critique of BloomKlein that is out there. For instance, what about questioning experts on whether such a plan of principal power - which is a basic way for BloomKlein to absolve themselves of responsibility - has been tried anywhere and why not try it as an experiment in a small section of schools to see if it works before inundating the entire system? So be it for all the other organizations? Reminds me of the Times' coverage of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Et tu Judith Miller?
This is the best line:
"Certainly there have been improvements. The dozens of small high schools that have been created in the last 5 years posted an average graduation rate of 73 percent. Still, roughly half of the high school students in the city do not graduate in four years."
That's about it. Their toughest critique.
No questions about how these figures are arrived at. No talk of the lack of special ed or bi-lingual kids. No talk of the creaming. No talk about the kids from closed schools being forced into overcrowded large schools as a way to ensure failure. No questions about why they don't try to fix the large schools. Well. you know the drill.
See Diane Ravitch's full piece posted at Norm's Notes.
1. NYCDOE gives no list of the 'new, small schools' included in its calculations for the spin release, so...
2. They give percentages, not raw numbers, for their graduation rates: you can't even try to work backwards to see what was included.
3. Most importantly, they gave no numbers for 'still enrolled,' nor for 'discharged.' ...NYCDOE is notorious for mis-reporting dropouts as having enrolled elsewhere, i.e., discharged from a NYCDOE school's rolls.
4. The numbers for graduates who earned local v. Regents diplomas is also critical, and missing. In prior years, local hs diplomas predominated. According to the NYS Court of Appeals' CFE [Campaign for Fiscal Equity] decision, a local diploma resulting from passing RCT [low-level competency examinations] put a kid-depending on the subject—at between the 6th and 9th grade level. This isn't exactly college prep.
But there is some good news for teachers. Klein wants to stay beyond Bloomberg's term of office. You know, in any organization where about 98% of the employees despise the CEO, his administration would be considered a total failure. And the stock price would take a serious hit. Ignore that fact too, NY Times.
Report from Hot Yoga - I survived - barely.
Off to the beach now to give try to stop all my teacher friends from going swimming in deep water.