Launching one of the first major initiatives of his administration, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein last week followed a pattern set by other chancellors early in their tenures by announcing a new $3.75 million campaign to revamp the citys public school system.
A pair of philanthropic organizations, the California-based Broad Foundation and the Robertson Foundation of Manhattan, have agreed to foot the bill for the nearly $4 million price tag of the first phase of the endeavor, Klein said in a news release.
The animating focus of this entire effort must be to find ways to make every aspect of the system work toward one and only one aim to create and sustain effective schools, Klein said in a statement.
Called Children First, Klein promised the study would produce an initial report within 100 days after investigating every function of the school system including instructional, operational and organizational issues at the school, district and central office levels.
Early in his reign as schools chancellor, Kleins predecessor Harold Levy put forth a similar plan to reorganize the administration of the public school system. In August 2001 Levy said he would seek a 39 percent reduction in administration staff and a push to make instructional policy the focus of the city system, among other efforts. None of the proposed changes were made.
Klein, who was appointed to the chancellors post in late August, said the state Legislatures decision to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg control of the school system in June was equivalent to a mandate for change in New Yorks public schools.
The chancellor said Children First would strive to take ideas and suggestions for change from all groups with a stake in education.
This is going to be an open and inclusive process, he said. Input from the community is absolutely critical.
But Seymour Fliegel, president of the non-profit Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association, said the real question was whether or not Klein would make the changes proposed by the Children First examination.
If the intent is to actually implement any of these recommendations, then thats OK, Fliegel said. The question you always have to ask is what happened to the other studies. Weve got to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
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