Murdoch Turns the Screws on Joel Klein

How things have changed as a result of the fiasco with the New York City system of grading schools. Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post has lost patience with Joel Klein. It told Klein he should scrap the grading system because it “stinks” and is “jerry-rigged”.

Yesterday, an editorial in the Post said:

It is becoming increasingly clear that Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is doing no one any favors – not the public, and certainly not himself – by assigning letter-grade report cards to city schools.
The jerry-rigged system for determining the grades obscures more than it reveals. Thus, the information the cards impart is worse than misleading – it’s virtually useless.

The Post accused Klein’s Department of Education of “cooking the books” because this year it pre-determined that 25% of schools would get an ‘A’ grade no matter how well a school actually performed. Further, it was pre-determined that just one per cent of schools would get an ‘F’ grade and D’s would be kept to four per cent of schools “which distorts the picture at the low end”.

The Post editorial is a significant shift. Rupert Murdoch is very close to New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and to Klein. The Post campaigned for Bloomberg’s election and usually slavishly promotes whatever he and Klein say and do. Until now, it was an arch supporter of the New York City school reporting system.

The shift by the Post shows how bad this system is. Yet, it is one that Julia Gillard said is “working” and producing “remarkable outcomes”. What does she say now?

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