Today’s news:

Klein to host two hearings in boro on school reform

The city Department of Education was scheduled to play catch-up in Queens this month after a December community forum on the chancellor’s re-evaluation of the city public school system was canceled because of bad weather.

Originally, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and his staff were supposed to visit Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica on Dec. 5 to get parent and community input on how to make the public school system more efficient.

But ol’ Man Winter disagreed with the Education Department’s scheduling, bringing the season’s first major storm Dec. 5 along with several inches of snow. The Ed Department canceled its Queens forum, the last in a series of five planned throughout the city this fall.

The forum is part of Klein’s $3.75 million brainchild study, “Children First: A New Agenda for Public Schools in New York City,” in which he hopes to re-evaluate all aspects of the city’s public school system and implement reforms.

The Queens forums were rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11:30 a.m. at Forest Hills High School and Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica.

“Only when the entire community is mobilized behind this work will we realize the goal of improved academic performance by all children,” Klein said in a community message on the Children First Web site, www.nycenet.edu/childrenfirst. “I wish I could express personally to each of you the crucial role you play in the effort to improve public education in this city.”

The forums, according to the city Education Department, are intended to give parents and community leaders a chance to discuss several education issues, including ways to improve the system, current parent/community reform strategies and “what works and doesn’t work in the public schools.”

“All schools, whether successful or not, are hampered by a maze of rules, traditions and procedures,” Klein said in his community message. “Substantial change in the way we operate is imperative for us to reach our goal of creating a system of outstanding schools.”

The forums, the first of which was held Nov. 12 in the Bronx, have been structured to allow for an initial opening statement from Klein before parents are asked to “break out” into smaller groups to meet with local superintendents and Panel for Educational Policy members.

Forest Hills High School is at 67-01 110th St. and is accessible by bus and subway. Thomas Edison High School is at 165-65 84th Ave. in Jamaica and has an entrance on 84th Avenue.

For more information, go online at www.nycenet.edu or call 212-374-5545.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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