Joel Klein’s Legacy
I never knew this – it's extraordinary:
the lasting legacy of Joel Klein might not be in New York City but elsewhere, in New Jersey; Baltimore; Washington, DC; New Haven, CT; Rochester, NY; and Christina, Delaware. In each of these places, someone closely connected with the Chancellor became the top educator. In fact, all but Michelle Rhee in Washington actually reported to Mr. Klein, and they worked closely when she led the New Teacher Project. As is well known, it was Mr. Klein who advised incoming DC Mayor Adrian Fenty to hire her.
The others: Deputy Superintendent Christopher Cerf is now the State Superintendent in New Jersey. Andres Alonso is Superintendent in Baltimore. Garth Harries leads the schools in New Haven; J.C. Brizzard is superintendent in Rochester, and Marcia Lyles heads the Christina, Delaware, schools.
By my rough calculations, well over 1.5 million students are now in schools led by the five former deputies of Mr. Klein. Add to that Chancellor Rhee's 44,000 students in Washington, DC, and Mr. Klein's 1 million-plus students for a total of 2.6 million students, give or take a few thousand.
Since our public schools currently enroll about 50 million students, that means that more than 5 percent of all US public school students were either directly or indirectly under his influence. I conclude that, in terms of his impact on schools and school systems, Joel Klein is the most important educator that most of America has never heard of.