Shelley Harwayne's Challenge

Letter to the Editor, the New York Times
Re: A School Shake-Up Winner with a Big Challenge
By Denise Matava Haffenden
(Not published)

Was Abby Goodnough writing for the NY Times or Family Circle when she writes about Shelly Harwayne? Parents have been dissatisfied with Ms. Harwayne's education decisions for years. Their opinions about District 2 curricula are found in the waiting room of Huntington Learning Center every weekday afternoon; where students learn what they don't under Harwayne's leadership.

As an Educational Evaluator in Manhattan High Schools I routinely test students from District 2. After grade four, parents start to notice the problem but can't believe District 2 is it and assume something is wrong with their children. The problem is the curricula Ms. Harwayne promotes, especially in math as reported under Levy's Math Commission.

What instructional leader would support someone like Lucy West as Director of Mathematics, a woman whose curricula vitae states her major was elementary education and theatre? Teachers are being asked to have college courses in the area they teach, but the Director of Math doesn't need this?

Spare us the idealized p.r. regarding Ms. Harwayne and report on education; liking her doesn't help if parents still have to write out that check for tutoring every month!

Denise Matava Haffenden

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