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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Letter From Joel Klein To All Staff The Day After Bloomberg Won a Third Term

This letter was sent to all staff through the DOE email system.
Subject: FW: A letter from Chancellor Klein

(see the picture above? Isn't hugging against NYC BOE policy??)

From: Klein Joel I.
Sent: Wed 11/4/2009 12:01 PM To: &All Employees
Subject: A letter from Chancellor Klein

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, voters reelected Mayor Bloomberg to a third term in
office. In an election where education was a major focus, the outcome is
truly a testament to your hard work and accomplishments-and what they have
meant for our students. Over the past year especially, you brought about
historic achievement gains despite the worst economic climate since the
Great Depression. And you kept your focus even as our schools and our
students' progress were challenged during the loud debate over mayoral
control and then, of course, the long campaign.

This third term provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to
build on our success and take it to the next level. Many of you remember
how things used to be. For decades, our schools were characterized by a
revolving door of leadership and reforms that never had the support to
produce any sustained results. That all changed in 2002. By the end of
this four-year term, the city will have experienced 12 years of consistent
and bold educational vision. Mayor Bloomberg's continuity of
leadership has led to historic achievement gains and what I hope is a
permanent culture shift-creating a school system that puts the interests
of students above all else. Today, our students have many more good school
options from which to choose. Our teaching force is more highly qualified.
And principals have more authority than ever to make decisions that best
meet the needs of their schools. But as proud as I am of what we've
accomplished-raising our graduation rate by 15 points (to 61 percent), for
example-so far we are still a school system capable of graduating just six
out of ten students in four years. We must do better than that for our
kids and frankly, for the future of this city.

We'll get there by building on what we know works and by being
prepared to innovate. We will continue to be guided by the pillars of
leadership, empowerment, and accountability. The best decision we made was
to focus our reforms on individual schools and the talents of those who
lead them. As you know, we demand more than ever from our schools-and that
will not change. We must continually set higher standards to ensure our
children are prepared to tackle real-world challenges. That's why I
support more rigorous assessments and graduation requirements for our
students. To help you meet and exceed these expectations, we've given you
more information than ever to help your students achieve. Tools like ARIS
and inquiry teams, for example, help identify students' strengths and
weaknesses so you can better target instruction, and we will continue to
expand these resources.

But it's also time to take a fresh look at how we organize our
schools and deliver instruction: for too long, public education has been
immune to innovation and that cannot continue. We already are piloting
several models that reorganize our classrooms, redistribute our teacher
talent, and take advantage of technology. Several other ideas are in the
planning stages, and we need even more of them. We're redefining Career
and Technical Education so that our curriculum is tied to college
standards and prepares students for jobs that are currently in demand.
Indeed, for the first time, working with CUNY, we've created an integrated
9-14 CTE school where students get a high school diploma and an
Associate's Degree. And Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to open 100 more charter
schools if Albany raises-or lifts altogether-the current cap on their
creation. As always, I encourage you to e-mail me with your ideas and share
your experiences.

With school improvement both a local and, now, a national
priority, there has never been a more exciting time to be working in
public education. The expectations for this third term are high and the
debates will be noisy, but after more than seven years, we're used to
that. I'm confident New York City will once again lead the way.

Joel I. Klein