August 28, 2003

Poor marketing of NYC school reform

The New York Times has a misguided report by David Herszenhorn on NYC mayor Bloomberg's and schools chancellor Klein's poor marketing of their reforms.

When Mr. Bloomberg laid out the bulk of his education plans in a speech in Harlem in January, his proposals were received with general enthusiasm, even winning the initial support of the teachers' union president, Randi Weingarten.

But in the weeks after the mayor's speech, the administration failed to build the momentum, officials said, and instead became embroiled in an arcane debate over whether the proposed literacy curriculum had a strong enough phonics component.

Sadly, it seems entirely possible that mayor Bloomberg and chancellor Klein view the debate over how to teach reading as just arcane and petty. Their defence of the curricular mandates that chancellor Klein imposed on the New York City schools is never based on the substance of the specific choices, but only on the claimed need to have a unified curriculum throughout the city. A Freedom Of Information Law request done for New York City HOLD showed that there is no documentation, not even for the Department's internal reference, of the rationale for the specific choices of textbooks for reading and mathematics.

Posted by Bas Braams at August 28, 2003 01:58 PM