NYC Schools Chancellor Steps Down New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced his resignation on Tuesday. Klein has led the nation's largest school system for 8 years and is a leading figure in school reform. Klein will be replaced by publishing executive Cathleen Black. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Beth Fertig of member station WNYC about Klein's tenure.
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NYC Schools Chancellor Steps Down

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NYC Schools Chancellor Steps Down

NYC Schools Chancellor Steps Down

NYC Schools Chancellor Steps Down

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New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced his resignation on Tuesday. Klein has led the nation's largest school system for 8 years and is a leading figure in school reform. Klein will be replaced by publishing executive Cathleen Black. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Beth Fertig of member station WNYC about Klein's tenure.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Hi, Beth.

BETH FERTIG: Hi.

SIEGEL: Tell us about Chancellor Klein and what he accomplished.

FERTIG: But there's a lot of mixed opinions about how much he accomplished because graduation rates went up, it's now about 60 percent in four years, but that's still not very high. And while test scores went up, there's a big debate over how much that really means because the state changed its standards this year and made the tests harder to pass and then the scores fell.

SIEGEL: Now, the New York City Public Schools are under the control of the mayor of New York City. Joel Klein didn't have to answer to a school board. What impact did that have on his reforms?

FERTIG: But a lot of parents and politicians felt like he had too much control, that he was opening and closing schools without involving them - any community notification. And a bunch of parents and the teachers' union even sued this year to stop him from closing 19 schools, and they won.

SIEGEL: Now, as we've mentioned, Joel Klein's successor is a woman named Cathie Black. She's a publishing executive. She does not have experience in education. Why Cathie Black?

FERTIG: So it's a change of philosophy or, you know, sticking with the same philosophy that Bloomberg's had all along. Although there's many critics out there who are still saying he should have chosen an educator. If you're going to improve the schools, you need a real educator.

SIEGEL: Okay. Thank you, Beth.

FERTIG: You're welcome.

SIEGEL: That's reporter Beth Fertig of member station WNYC.

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