NYC Education Reforms Represent a Failed Ideology

The Editor
The New York Daily News
June 21, 2004
(Not published?)

From Elizabeth Carson

To the Editor:

Today's editorial is ironic in its dismissal of all Klein's critics as defenders of the status quo.

The core of Klein's education reforms, his uniform reading and math programs, are the status quo in education today. The programs were designed by those most powerful in our city system and well before Bloomberg took control of the schools - star administrators, professional developers and researchers in our schools of education and area refoermers in nonprofit institutions. Klein has actually helped to entrench their instructional ideology that has been failing our children for years.

Klein's standard curriculum demands that most schools use highly controversial, unproven teaching methods and programs for reading and math in the critical formative and tested elementary grades.

His elementary reading program is a thinly veiled whole language approach which gives short shrift to the building blocks of reading skills acquisition. The program was denounced by our nation's top reading advisors, and since twice changed for the most at risk schools so to avoid loss of federal funding which reasonably requires scientific research based early reading instruction.

Klein's elementary math curricula denies the necessity of basic arithmetic skills mastery, and is at the very heart of the national math wars. The program was chosen in spite of the grave concerns of senior math teachers at some of our best schools, mathematics experts at NYU and CUNY colleges and parents whose children were involved in pilots of the experimental program, who pleaded for an alternative.

Klein's demand for accountability for improvement from students, parents, teachers and administrators "all the way to the top" is perverse given his own lack of accountability to the body of evidence, research and expert advisories he has chosen to ignore, a body of evidence indicating his instructional reforms are ill-considered and with little chance for success.

Elizabeth Carson
NYC parent

Co-Founder, NYC HOLD Honest Open Logical Debate on Mathematics Education Reform

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