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[Susan notes: Interesting that The Times chose to print these two letters summing up Klein's tenure.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re Departing Schools Chief: 'We Weren't Bold Enough'" (news article, Dec. 26): For all his talk of boldness, or lack thereof, Joel I. Klein's eight-year tenure as chancellor of the New York City public schools, with its relentless focus on testing, has not produced revolutionary positive results.

What we have seen is the closing of far too many schools instead of nurturing them back to success; parents' voices paid little or no heed; and no transparency in the world of a mayor who rules by administrative fiat.

Is this generation of our city's public school children better off than those who were beginning to benefit from the positive inroads -- swiftly jettisoned under a "new broom sweeps clean" philosophy -- made by two former chancellors, Harold O. Levy and Rudy Crew? As a 30-year veteran of our city's public schools, regrettably, I think not.

Kenn Agata

Bayside, Queens, Dec. 26, 2010


To the Editor:

Joel I. Klein's mind-boggling corporate approach to fixing our school system was to ask everyone his or her opinion -- except the teachers.

His implication that people are attracted to teaching for the "seniority, life tenure, lockstep pay, lifetime pensions" insults the majority of teachers, who join the profession because they actually enjoy imparting knowledge and enthusiasm for learning, and love their students, even in the most difficult schools.

Without these benefits, what top candidate would opt to teach, at the risk of being fired if your test results are lower than another teacher's -- not taking into account, of course, the myriad differences among some 28 to 30 students?

Mr. Klein's own New York City public school experience speaks volumes. "Teachers really helped me see a world that I didn't see," he says.

And those teachers had tenure, automatic raises and lifetime pensions. I guess they didn't do such a bad job after all.

Irene Bernstein-Pechmeze

Whitestone, Queens, Dec. 26, 2010

The writer is a retired New York City high school teacher.

Multiple authors

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