[ProgressiveEd] Meeting with Joel Klein

[email protected] [email protected]
Wed, 2 Apr 2003 07:55:31 EST

Dear folks,
The PENNY steering committee had a long discussion about the April 10th 
meeting with Joel Klein this past Monday.  The following letter is the result 
of that discussion. I sent it to Joel Klein Tuesday afternoon.  Later that 
afternoon, I received the following reply.  The meeting is ON.  Thank you 
again for your extraordinary efforts.  (As to waivers, there have been no 
announcements.  I will try to reach people at the DOE this morning and will 
forward any information I can get.  I'm drafting a letter, which I'll put out 
on our listserv for comments before it's sent out more publicly, criticizing 
DOE waiver policy.)  Bruce Kanze
<<I look forward to our meeting as well.  See you then.  Joel Klein>>
Text of Letter:
Chancellor Joel Klein
Tweed Courthouse
52 Chambers Street
New York, New York
Dear Chancellor Klein:
On behalf of The Progressive Education Network of New York, (PENNY) I want to 
thank you for meeting with us on April 10th. We look forward to this 
opportunity to discuss our concerns and to offer the lessons we've learned 
from our experiences working in successful small schools.  Our schools are 
caring communities that support a wide range of learners. We are eager to 
hear your plans and looking forward to sharing with you ways in which we have 
successfully built progressive institutions that are truly effective.
We would like the following issues to be addressed at the meeting. First, we 
want an assurance that our schools will get official school status.  Second, 
we want the creation of networks that recognize and build on the working 
relationships that have formed over many years among our schools.  In the 
past, our schools have been mutually supportive. Forming networks of 
like-minded schools and placing an instructional superintendent with a 
commitment to build on what already exists in charge of these networks would 
enable us to continue to grow in ways that would be of great support to your 
efforts to improve schools. Third, we want schools and teachers to continue 
to develop rich curricula in their classrooms.  We believe that curriculum 
works best when it combines the insight and knowledge of the teacher and 
school community with the interests and diverse learning needs of the 
students.  Teachers need the breathing space to develop curriculum and to 
create schedules that are flexible enough to meet their students' needs. 
Schools need to be able to coordinate that curriculum across the various 
PENNY is an organization with representatives from many different 
communities. It brings together elementary, middle/junior, and high schools 
in several boroughs. Our members are parents, school staff, administrators 
and college faculty members as well.  We understand the need to keep our 
meeting with you and Ms. Cahill small enough so that the conversation can be 
direct and focused, but we also have to make sure all voices in our 
constituency are represented.  At our last steering committee meeting, we 
developed the following list (which we pared down considerably) of people to 
attend the April 10th meeting:  three parents (two Bilingual parents), two 
classroom teachers, two principals, one school director, and me (as 
representative of PENNY).  Specific names will be submitted before the end of 
this week.  
Thank you very much for your continued support and the heroic efforts you're 
making to 
improve education in New York City.
Bruce Kanze
PENNY, 212 831 4455, ext. 2, 1