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Pallas spars with Joel Klein in the Blogosphere


Aaron Pallas

Aaron Pallas

TC's Aaron Pallas has recently engaged in a series of online exchanges with Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City public schools who currently runs New Corp.'s new education division, about Klein's record as schools chief.

It started with an opinion piece by Klein on June 10 on the Washington Post in which he placed New York among a handful of urban school districts which are firmly on the path to positive education reform and transforming failing schools.
Pallas commented on Klein's piece on his "Sociological Eye on Education" blog, published by the Hechinger Report, calling Klein "a hoot" and saying that New York's performance on a national test (NAEP), among other things, disproved Klein's contention that the city had narrowed its minority achievement gap.
Klein returned to The Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog, countering that New York City's NAEP performance failed to close the achievement gap because white students improved as much as minority students. "Surely we don't want to close gaps by slowing the progress of white students," Klein writes. "Besides, African-American and Hispanic students did close several gaps on the NAEP when compared to white students throughout the nation, which is what ultimately matters."

Pallas fired back on his own blog: "It’s an appealing narrative: A new generation of school leaders takes on entrenched interests. Reforms are new and bold. Outcomes soar." But Klein's story falls apart, Pallas charges, if data beyond the KIPP charter schools are taken into account.

Klein has yet to go at it again, but "don't count on this being the end of it," warns Answer Sheet blogger Valerie Strauss.
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