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A mass execution

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The ax came down last week on the necks of 45 New York City principals, 10 of them from Queens public schools.

The theory is that these principals failed consistently to reach the standards set by the Department of Education. So, in...

A mass execution

The ax came down last week on the necks of 45 New York City principals, 10 of them from Queens public schools.

The theory is that these principals failed consistently to reach the standards set by the Department of Education. So, in theory, this is a positive development that should bode well for the children who attend the city’s public schools. But we are not convinced that this is the case.

The Queens list included: Robert Hickson of Springfield Gardens High School, Neil Bluth of Campus High School in Cambria Heights, Joseph Saccente of PS/IS 499 on the grounds of Queens College in Flushing, Carol Davidson of JHS 190 in Forest Hills, Jane Danapas of IS 230 in Jackson Heights, Nancy Drescher of PS 111 in Long Island City, Doris Rosado of PS 65 in Ozone Park, Barbara Pleener of Beach Channel High School, Cheryll Jones of Far Rockaway High School, and Frank Barone of Franklin K. Lane High School on the border of Woodhaven and Brooklyn.

It occurs to us that these principals, at least many of them, were working in schools, such as Campus High School in Cambria Heights, that have been plagued by poverty, violence, poor attendance and poor performance. We are not convinced that the Education Department has done all that it could to support these principals and to make sure that they have the personnel and resources they needed to reach the performance goals.

It may be that all of the principals named deserved to get their walking papers, but the process that Chancellor Joe Klein described does not give us confidence that this is the case. Did he talk to the PTAs? Did he talk to the parents and the students? Did he visit the schools? Or did he rely completely on test scores and other numbers? Why a mass execution? Why not one at a time giving the public a chance to react?

We hope for the best, but we fear that the education bureaucracy may have made a terrible mistake.

Legislators say:

You can wait

The state Legislature is nothing if not consistent. It as bad enough that the Legislature failed once again to pass a budget on time for the beginning of state’s new fiscal year. Now this body of bums has added insult to injury by failing to approve a $400 real estate tax rebate before going on vacation.

Having done virtually nothing since January, one might think that the senators and Assembly members could have postponed the start of richly unearned vacation in order to pass the rebate. But these elected officials decided that the people of New York City could wait. It may be small change to the Legislature, but to a family in Queens the money might have meant a small vacation or money to buy back-to-school clothes. For the average working-class family, this is a chunk of change.

Please ignore those who argue that the rebate is unfair to the poor who cannot afford to buy a home. The rebate is your money. The mayor and City Council decided that money was not needed to balance the budget and should be given back to its rightful owners. It is an anachronism that the state needs to approve this rebate. This gives legislators who have no connection to New York City and nothing to gain by treating the city fairly far too much input.

But we digress. The problem isn’t that the Legislature opposed the rebate. The problem is that they went on vacation without even considering it. If you weren't convinced before that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate majority Leader Joseph Bruno need to be replaced, you should be now.

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