Saturday, November 27, 2004

New York City schools Chancellor: Our public high schools are "dumping grounds" parents don't want to send their kids to ... um ... not that there's any reason for them not to want to!

Nearly nine of 10 city high schools are hellholes that parents do not want their children to attend, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told City Council members yesterday.

"Most of our students and parents do not want to go to a large majority of our high schools," Klein declared...

Klein was unusually blunt in his remarks, and at one point called some larger high schools "dumping grounds," saying they are filled with kids not educated properly in elementary and middle school, but still pushed along by social promotion.

Speaking forcefully, Klein produced charts showing that a disturbing 86% of the city's 318 high schools were "not highly sought after" -- meaning few kids expressed an interest in attending them this school year...

Last spring and summer, distressed parents complained that the new high school selection process was exceptionally confusing and forced their children to attend poor schools.

But yesterday Klein insisted the problem was not the selection process but the city's huge number of bad schools...

Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz (D-Manhattan), chairwoman of the Education Committee, said she was puzzled that so many undesirable schools were allowed to remain open. "We have to be shutting down more schools; that's a shocking statistic," Moskowitz said...

Later, Klein's spokesman Steve Morello clarified the chancellor's comments, saying he was not suggesting that unpopular schools were undesirable.

"To the extent that anybody got the impression that demand should be interpreted to mean that a school is not a desirable place to be, it was not the chancellor's intention, and if he did say that, he misspoke," Morello said. [NYDN]
~end quote~

Yes, let's make that clarification absolutely clear: Just because a school is a "dumping ground" doesn't mean it is undesirable as a place to send your kids.

And just because there is no "demand" among parents to send their kids to what they take to be a poor school -- and they are "distressed" and publicly complain when they find they have to -- well, what does that have to do with a school actually being undesirable?

It's a good thing the vigilant PR people at the Board of Ed are ever ready to clarify all the Chancellor's misspeaking about such matters, or who knows what kinds of misunderstandings might result?