Departing Schools Chief: ‘We Weren’t Bold Enough’
Here's a final interview Klein gave to the NY Times. I love his last two answers:
How do you think a young Joel Klein would fare in today's school system?
I'm a big believer that the education system's got to meet a kid at least half way. And in some of the schools, I think I would have fared very, very well. In other schools, and I worry about this — I was talking to somebody about it who wrote me last night about one of the schools on our closing list, and he was very emotional. Basically, he said, "I went to that school. You should try to fix it." It's been there for a decade with 40 percent graduation rates, and that includes local diplomas. It's quite clear that the school isn't going to work. It's noble to say keep it going, but if you get captured in a school like that, I think the outcomes are very different.
What was your experience attending Queens public schools as a child?
I had grown up in public housing in a family in which people told me to pay attention in school. But it was not a family that was a learned family; it was not a family that went to museums; it was not a family that read. My father never read a book in his entire life. Teachers really helped me see a world that I didn't see. I just find it amazing at the deepest human levels that a kid like me could come back and be a chancellor of a school system that he grew up in and that changed his life.