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January 02, 2014 9:45 AM New NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña Wants Joyful Departure from Bloomberg Era

By Liz Willen

Skepticism about Fariña is largely directed at just how much of de Blasio’s stated agenda she can actually accomplish. For example, Fariña will have the difficult task of helping convince lawmakers to tax income over $500,000 a year to fund all-day preschool and after school programs for adolescents. Others want to hear specific goals for raising graduation rates.

“Carmen has the credentials, she has the experience - but can she attract the leading education reformers in the country to work for her and can they put together a coherent and comprehensive plan to increase graduation rates and ratchet up what it means to be a graduate of the New York City public schools?’’ wondered Eric Nadelstern, a former deputy chancellor under Joel Klein. “The goal has to be to improve student performance at a level that has never been achieved. Anything less, and we are selling our students short.”

In the meantime, during Fari˜a’s honeymoon period, the word joy - one Ravitch noted has been “unheard in the past dozen years,’’ — has some resonance.

“Thank you,’’ tweeted American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, “4 bringing back love of learning to our public schools.”

[Cross-posted at The Hechinger Report]

Liz Willen is editor of The Hechinger Report and director of The Hechinger Institute.

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