Over at the Forum for Education and Democracy, Ann Cook and Phyllis Tashlik tell the story of the long but successful struggle of the schools in the New York Performance Standards Consortium to have their waiver from the New York State Education Department extended. That waiver allows these schools to continue to substitute their rigorous system of performance based assessments in Social Studies and Science for the Regents Examinations. Here at the UFT, we are proud of having played a supporting role in that struggle, and thus, in allowing these schools to continue their excellent academic programs.
For all the rhetorical support for small schools that one sees issue forth from Tweed these days, it is interesting to note that Chancellor Joel Klein and the Department of Education intervened in the struggle – AGAINST the schools and their efforts to maintain their waivers. At a critical moment when the state legislature was considering legislation to extend the waiver, Klein had the DOE’s legislative representative send a memorandum to all state legislators declaring that the DOE “strongly opposed” the legislation and the waiver.