[ProgressiveEd] Tonight's Meeting

Carol Barton [email protected]
Thu, 20 Mar 2003 00:32:16 -0500

I agree that Shelley Harwayne stood out last night.  She quoted Debbie Meier and "gets" small schools and inspiring education.  Unfortunately, Lucille Swarns was uninspiring-- and she's our new superintendent.  They attempted to answer the most pressing questions parents had, but the evening was very controlled and orchestrated, with little room for dialogue (or figuring out where we can get answers).  I got the impression from Klein that: 
--there will be little flexibility on waivers-- they want this uniform curriculum 
--they appear willing to get rid of bad principals
--there will be more flexibility for our schools regarding how the uniform curriculum is taught 
--he seems to agree that teachers and good administrators, not curriculum, make good schools, and that parental involvement is essential 
--they seem eager to be (or appear) responsive, and now is a good time to press on this-- write and ask questions, ask for meetings, push for answers.  This is particularly true for parents.  
--it seems like the squeaky wheel gets the oil-- that is, schools that have mobilized and gotten visibility, like Children's Workshop or Computer, are now on Klein's radar screen, and he mentioned this.  All of us need to do the same, as well as PENNY collectively.  
--I wrote a follow up note to Klein today, and others should too.  In the response, he (his staff) said "can't you keep what you value in your school, and still improve achievement?"  He means via his curriculum and test scores, and seems to feel our small schools can keep some of our culture, with the new curriculum in place.  Whether this is true will depend on the instructional supervisors, and in the case of schools within schools, the building administrators.  That's dicey for some of us!  It also means that test scores continue to be the bottom line for him.  
If Shelley Harwayne is a potential ally, can PENNY folks talk with her about our idea of networks of progressive schools linked to an instructional supervisor, not just for her district, but for all of them?  Would she raise the idea in the "cabinet"?  Otherwise, small schools may survive in her district, but not elsewhere.  Can someone pick up on this? 
Carol Barton 
Muscota, Computer
-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
[mailto:[email protected]]On Behalf Of Massey Sidney H
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 2:43 PM
To: Jane Bedell; [email protected]
Subject: RE: [ProgressiveEd] Tonight's Meeting
On the way out we bumped in the Shelley and she greeted Emily (the 5th grader who invited the chancellor to visit).  She then looked at me and several teachers and commented, "Don't worry".
It's not that I'm worried but after last night, more than ever, we need to push our agenda.  This is the time to have our schools formally recognized for the work that we do.  While there does appear to be mucho space to exist we don't want to have to do it sub rosa but rather out in the sunlight and fresh air.
On the whole, I was impressed with the audience and their passion and I thought Shelley Harwayne stood out.  The rest of the speakers were singularly uninspiring and weren't able (at least last night) to articulate a vision or even to recognize let alone answer a question.  I'd hate to see the new breed of principal supervisors they will be producing if this is the professional leadership core.
That's all for now
River East
	-----Original Message----- 
	From: Jane Bedell [mailto:[email protected]] 
	Sent: Wed 3/19/2003 2:04 PM 
	To: [email protected] 
	Subject: Re: [ProgressiveEd] Tonight's Meeting
	Hello all--
	I'd be very curious to know what folks thought about last nights meeting
	with the regional superintendents/Joel Klein and others.  If he is to be
	taken at his word, and if the regional superintendents are to be taken at
	their word (and I'm betting that this is a b-i-g "if"), it seems there are
	a lot of potential places where schools like the PENNY schools will be able
	to exist.  On a related note, I felt that as a group we were the single
	most identifiable group of folks in the audience and that several of our
	points were heard.
	Other thoughts?
	--On Wednesday, March 19, 2003 12:02 PM -0500 [email protected] wrote:
	> Dear folks,
	> Tonight's general meeting of PENNY is at 6:30 at City College, NAC
	> building,  Room 4220.
	> We will use this meeting to talk about last night's regional meeting and
	> to  plan the citywide demonstration set for next Wednesday, March 26.
	> See you  tonight.
	> Bruce
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