The twilight zone

Has the trust - busting Joel Klein re-emerged to supplant the top-down know-it-all reformer? One can hope. Last month he announced that an additional 150 schools would be placed in his "autonomy zone" (besides the 58 schools there already), making them eligible for greater freedom from oversight. His aides promise to cut layers of bureaucracy and create a system "with schools at the top." And "The Chalkboard" reports that former Edison Schools executive Chris Cerf will help lead the reorganization effort. This all sounds promising. But as weary, veteran New York reformer Sol Stern told Gadfly, it won't matter unless principals are allowed to ditch the "workshop model" and whole language reading approaches - pushed by Klein thus far - in favor of something that actually works in the city's zillion classrooms.

"Schools Chancellor to Give Principals More Autonomy," by David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times, January 20, 2006