Klein, mayor didn’t hear public on school closings

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Your Feb. 4-10 editorial was right on the money: “Chancellor Klein Goes to School.” Yes he did, but he did not learn anything. Nor has he learned anything from the students, parents and different community organizations who say he is wrong in his approach to the education of children.

Having received a waiver by the state Legislature to become the city schools chancellor, after eight years of on-the-job training he still does not get it. There is no doubt that Klein is well-educated — enough to have served in the Clinton administration. Yet he is not an educator. If he were, I would think by now he would have been able to figure out how to do the job of educating over 1 million students in this metropolis.

I sat in the Brooklyn Tech auditorium until 10:30 p.m. after seeing hundreds of people outside demonstrating that the vote to close those 19 high schools should not have taken place or at least should have been postponed. I sat there with mixed emotions as No. 89 to speak.

Jamaica High School was the school from which my older son had graduated and went on to Villanova. He now serves as the parson of a county in Virginia. There was a clear possibility the decision had already been made to close Jamaica High, from which my younger son graduated, went and graduated from Tuskegee University when it was an institution and is now pastor of the church in which I served for 37 years.

After nine hours of negative testimony, I left at 10:30 p.m. with the NAACP Jamaica Branch. It was evident that neither Klein nor the city Panel for Educational Policy had learned anything and finally concluded to cast their predetermined vote to close 19 more high schools in our city.

It is unfortunate a rich mayor leveraged enough votes to win a third term with such a meager majority after changing his mind about term limits and now can see no evil, Klein can hear no evil and Deputy Mayor of Education Denis Walcott can speak no evil when it comes to doing what is right for the majority of the schoolchildren in this city.

This threesome has really caused a major detriment to our children, increased the upstate prison population and caused many well-thinking parents to lose hope. What a shame.

Rev. Dr. Charles L. Norris Sr.

St. Albans

Updated 6:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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