[ProgressiveEd] Our communications with Mr. Klein/what to do next

Beverly McClain [email protected]
Fri, 21 Mar 2003 12:49:34 -0500

Greetings all.
I'm the lucky parent who had the opportunity to engage in email dialogue
with Mr. Klein after writing him an angry letter regarding a brush off
response he wrote to our PTA secretary, Sophie Sanchez. After several
exchanges, and to all our surprise, he then appeared at the Children's
Workshop School (sadly, at lunchtime when kids weren't in class) on Tuesday.
He said his reason for choosing to visit us is because CWS's parents had
been more vocal than any school in NYC and he wanted to see for himself why
we were so tenacious and devoted. As many of you have done too, we applied
for waivers, sent emails, and responded to the Children First survey. But we
also collected letters, petitions, questionaires, images of our school and
artwork, a student video, and other items of interest and compiled in-depth
3-ring binders that were distributed to him, Shelley Harwaine, and the
mayor. I know this presentation made an impression too.
Maria (our director) says that he was there for about an hour, and it's
still hard to tell what he thinks of the school and program at this point.
He did say that he learned a lot from his visit. Main thing is we most
definitely have his ear, and I think it is starting to dawn on him that if
nothing else, the level of parent dedication and involvement in our schools
are HUGE assets to be appreciated and encouraged, not to be squandered.
During our last couple of exchanges Wednesday night, after I urged him to be
in touch with PENNY as a group and to address our concerns, he asked who to
contact and sure enough�he has asked Bruce for a meeting. Since we were the
folks who got through to him, we feel very strongly that our director and
PTA president should be present at the meeting (both very diplomatic folks)
and agree that it should be held at one of our progressive schools...maybe
this time at a middle or high school. But we also think while it shouldn't
be too big, that several other representatives of faculty and parents from
other schools be there too representing the diversity of our population.
It's my personal opinion, and the result of a unanimous PTA vote last night
at CWS, that we put off the TWEED march until we get a better fix on what
Klein is willing to do to address our concerns. It makes no sense to appear
confrontational until the meeting(s) indicate the need. And even if we're
"nice" at TWEED, we just don't think it sends the proper signal when he is
clearly making an effort to learn more on what we're about. This isn't to
say that there won't be a perfect time for it in the near future, but we
really don't think next Wednesday is the day.
An added advantage too is that we can all put more effort next week into
Albany and going after Pataki, and personally, I think for the next few
days, that seems like the preferable place to put out energy until we see
how the meeting plays out.
Carol, I believe all the points you made make complete sense. Let's all keep
our fingers crossed. After watching his grace under fire this past Tuesday
night, I must say that while there is plenty to disagree with, I do think
Mr. Klein is a decent man working very hard to get up to speed in what is a
big mess of a school system. I reserve the right to think differently in the
future but at this moment in time, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of
the doubt.
Ah...a glimmer of hope at a sad sad time.
Beverly McClain, CWS parent