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Friday, December 22, 2006

Uh, these are Public Schools

School Entrepreneur Named to Be a Deputy Chancellor

Published: December 22, 2006

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein yesterday appointed the former president of Edison Schools Inc., the world’s largest for-profit operator of public schools, as a deputy chancellor, perhaps the boldest move yet in the Bloomberg administration’s effort to increase the role of the private sector in managing city public schools.

The former Edison president, Chris Cerf, is a longtime friend of Mr. Klein and has been a consultant to the city’s Education Department since early this year, paid with private donations. He is part of a team that has been re-evaluating virtually every aspect of the overhaul of the school system in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s first term.

The consulting deal ends Dec. 31, after which Mr. Cerf will be deputy chancellor for operational strategy, human capital and external affairs — a $196,571-a-year post that will formalize his role in Mr. Klein’s inner circle and make him the system’s top official for labor relations and negotiations, principal and teacher recruitment and training, media relations and political affairs.

The chancellor, who is 60, and his new deputy, who is 52, have much in common. Both clerked at the United States Supreme Court — Mr. Cerf for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor — and both worked as lawyers in the Clinton White House. Both spent time in private law practice in Washington. They even share the astrological sign Scorpio.

But it is their shared view that the private sector should play a major role in public education that may be most significant to their work in the nation’s largest school system. Mr. Cerf has been deeply involved in the “empowerment initiative,” the recent effort to free principals from the oversight of superintendents provided that they sign an agreement to meet performance targets.

Some officials believe the logical next step in that process would be to hire private groups to manage networks of schools run by such principals. The private groups, which officials said might be nonprofit groups or for-profit companies like Edison, would oversee schools, would be responsible for results and could be fired if test scores lagged.

Shouldn't there be SOME public input into this plan. Edison was rejected once already.

posted by Steve @ 1:02:00 AM

1:02:00 AM

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