If you follow DOE press releases you would think that Bloomberg/Klein “invented” small high schools. Last spring Klein attacked a group of small high schools that are among the most innovative and effective schools in the city. More than a decade ago a group of small high schools applied to the State Commissioner of Education asking for a waiver from Regents examinations. They established a process, referred to as “portfolios and roundtables,” whereby students were evaluated by teachers based upon the quality of student work. The schools formed the Performance-Based Assessment Consortium and invited the education community to assess their efforts. Educators from around the country lauded the work of the Consortium.
Last year Commissioner Mills refused to renew the Consortum’s application for a waiver. The schools had friendly legislators introduce a bill to continue the waiver (in English and social studies) and allow additional schools to apply. Joel Klein vigorously opposed the legislation! The UFT supported the bills and set their lobbyists to work. When it appeared that the bills might pass Mills caved and renewed the waiver. Rather than lauding innovative and effective school Klein has tried to destroy them … In a system struggling to identify effective practices I guess “effective” is defined as “must be created by Klein.”