Title slate: The Eleventh Hour #205, Next Chancellor, Rec: 5/189/89
Funding by announcer and overlay the Eleventh Hour graphic still
The Eleventh Hour graphic and show opener.
Clip of the Inauguration of Chancellor Richard R. Green. Green at podium, students from the school band seated behind him as he speaks.
wide shot - audience, high school inauguration ceremony of Chancellor Richard R, Green.
wide shot closer to stage - high school band seated behind podium on the stage. Woman dressed in white on stage faces audience.
African American woman signing as Chancellor speaks at Board of Education podium. Older people dressed in graduation gowns seated behind Chancellor
Funeral ceremony - casket carried by police officers through crowd.
New York Mayor Edward I. Koch at podium speaking about deceased Chancellor Richard R. Green at funeral
At the Eleventh Hour studio, Host Robert Lipsyte welcomes viewers to the show and introduces himself.
Host Lipsyte talks about tonight's program - the search to find a new Chancellor for New York City's largest public school system and the search being complicated by racial, mayoral, and educational politics.
Cutaway to a prerecorded interview with the late Chancellor Richard Green. Green talking with Robert Lipsyte about the success of night school, reforms in the school system, summer school for Kindergarten through 6th grade and other educational programs.
Clip of the late Dr. Green on stage with small children, shaking their hands. At mike with the children making speech about the potential for having the best schools in the country. He thanks audience.
Host Lipsyte in studio introduces guests, two senior from John Jay High School in Brooklyn, Carla Alleyne and Danielle Corbie.
Thank you for coming. And then you know, really given an interest in us. And he said, That's all I'm interested in the kids.
Robert Lipsyte 4:49
Did you make any suggestions? Carla?
Carla Alleyne 4:52
Well, um, we were there he gave us a chance he asked us to give him our vision on what we want public schools to be like in the future. One of the things I came up with is that special education students should be allowed to mainstream with regular students in classes like gym, or music where we get to understand each other's. And we gave him a lot of input on things that we feel that should be fixed in schools. As far as, like they're thinking about bringing handcuffs into schools, we were against it, why? It's we don't want it to be like a jail environment. We want school to be academic, where you go and learn. It's uncomfortable to go to a school and they have handcuffs and the windows are barred, because
Danielle Corbie 5:35
that brings forth an immediate distrust of students, we want to go to a school that has proper learning environment, so that you know that they don't think they were criminals.
Robert Lipsyte 5:46
That sounds nice, except of what we read in the paper. There is a criminal and criminal element in the schools, there are kids who should be handcuffed?
Danielle Corbie 5:53
Well, I think that not every student is a criminal, you know. And of course, not every student is a criminal. But when we read in the papers, and on the TV and news, we only see the negative aspects of kids. We're in a foundation, the city Kids Foundation, and that is a foundation filled with positive kids. positive aspects.
Carla Alleyne 6:16
What about the good side? What about the positive things that kids do? Why don't the media get in contact with that,
Robert Lipsyte 6:21
let's build on some of those good things in terms of I mean, obviously, you're some of the good kids, your Karla is going to Antioch, next fall, and you're going to the University of Texas. So the implication is either that you're a very special or that somehow the system didn't quite fail you building on that foundation. Let's talk about some of the priorities that a new chancellor would have to address right away.
Carla Alleyne 6:51
I think that if we get a new chancellor, he has to be radical,
Robert Lipsyte 6:54
you said he,
Carla Alleyne 6:55
he or she has to be radical willing to make changes. Because right now it's educational crisis on we're not learning as much as we should be. And there's really problems going on in school as far as teaches us concern as far as students are concerned. And we really need changes, drastic changes. Now,
Robert Lipsyte 7:15
would you be specific to either of the changes?
Danielle Corbie 7:18
I think, what we need one of the issues we addressed on May 9, when we had the city could speak on education. For Chancellor green, we address an issue with a multicultural school. Because the schools we go to now, there are the fixed one group of a group, a school contains either black Puerto Rican, another school that contains either white or Hispanic, Asian, we don't want to schools to be fixed, we want to, we want to mix with everybody, because that's what prejudice starts in schools.
Carla Alleyne 7:50
And we also want to teach us to be on educated on people's cultures take like a course. So they can understand students, like a student comes from Haiti, they understand why they act in a certain way, or certain things like that.
And we also wanted to, we also get the recommendation that, that we have different courses after school to teach different dances from different cultures, different ethnic groups. And you know, everybody will feel more comfortable in this school because they're given them a chance to teach in their history. Also,
let me ask you this. And so many of the schools, our neighborhood schools kids live around to make it more of this kind of multi culture suggests that you bust kids from one neighborhood to another, you're suggesting busing in New York City
my school is the exact opposite of that my school, john j is in the middle of Park Slope in Brooklyn. And it's a yuppie area. And like, the population that goes there, like people that live in the area to not go to school, it comes from all around, like, all around that area. Usually the students that live in that area goes to Midwood or Berkeley, Carroll private schools,
but and we want we want to change that we want to be racially mixed, because we, um, I feel we could work. If we only got to know different races in different ethnics, we could work well with them. But if we don't know them, then we can't work then we immediately take a distrust
one of the reasons that people who can afford not to send their children to public schools and as in Park Slope center to private schools suggest is that the schools are really not good enough don't offer real educational opportunities. Before you can have that kind of multicultural mix. You're going to have to improve the education, get reading scores up, how is that going to happen?
I think we need Chancellor needs to implement programs as far as getting reading scores and things up. We need a lot of extra programs in the schools
because um, when when Chancellor green gunned gunned for that 14 months that year, it I really began to see some changes and we
need another leader on Right, in your now the search committee, that person, what would be some of the qualities you've mentioned radical, which I think you meant bold and innovative,
different, somebody who, whose ideas are diverse. And, you know, the administration really has to come up and meet him. Yeah, as far as that putting these through,
I don't think that I don't think that I want another Chancellor green. Because chance nobody can be Chancellor green, I think he's himself, nobody can be him. And I don't want anybody to try and fill his shoes, I want them to wear their own shoes. But I want a person that's for the kids, Chancellor green wasn't a politician. He was, he didn't take the job to become a political fitter figure, but a role model. And he was my role model.
Now he was only your role model for 14 months. And the grades and the learning that got you here, I got you into college in the fall really came on to other administrations? How did you guys do it under this present problem written system,
it has to do with you the person if you're really willing to be a go getter, because I'm, I'm right. I'm the type person that well, I want to do this, and I go ahead and do it. I'm involved in school and things like that, but not everybody
you study hard, you did your homework,
right? But not everybody is like me
you have to study hard, you have to stay in school and, and you know, you can't slack behind because if you only for one step behind, everybody's moving forward, you have to run and sometimes people don't want to worry,
but not to put you guys too much on the spot. But for guys like you any system is going to work because you're going to get the most out of it. And you're not going to need the handcuffs on the security guards belt, right? Or the bars. But a lot of people out there are kind of in the middle. And they're going to need more help than you got.
Right. And I think that's up to good teachers who know how to deal with people who come from diverse backgrounds, and who would understand and relate to where they're come
where they're going to come from.
Did their teachers all over the place that are from diverse backgrounds? And have and are educated in in other ethnic
did you have lousy teachers along the way?
Yeah. A few teachers I can name
What kept you going? Was it your family?
The knowledge that
it has to do with your family also. if you come from bad family, have bad background, and you're going to come to school really negative? Yeah. And I think I think that a teacher has a lot to do with a person, because there's teachers that I had that really, you know, put instilled, like, a good motivation into, like, I really want to learn, I like this teacher. And if you have a negative teacher that comes into the classroom and act like they don't care, then you're not going to care. If they don't show you respect, then you're not going to show up.
are there lot of those.
I don't think there's a great number as you know, they the media pops up,
either are either of you thinking about teaching?
I began to think about teaching like preschoolers and, and elementary, but I'm not so sure now,
any last year the last question and kind of an unfair one, perhaps, if you had children, would you send them through the public school systems of New York as you went through?
Yes, I would. Because I think when we do get a new chancellor, I think that, um, he's going to have to be great. You know, I think he's going to have to be really good around the students. The teachers administration just won't accept it. And you know, we just won't accept it. And I would send my kids to New York City, public schools, because it hasn't been that bad. You know, even though the media has made out made it out to be Oh, there's a stabbing here and a shooting here. That's only a few incidents, I would send them.
I think a lot will have to be done before I send my children. I think that they really need changes. I'm not too secure right now. With the public schools if to send my children there.
The system certainly worked for you guys and lot's of luck. Carla Alleyen. Danielle Corbie, thanks so much for being with us
Host Lipsyte thanks Carla Alleyne and Danielle Corbie, announces guests coming up and cuts to break.
The Eleventh Hour graphic.
School statistics overlay b&w ripped in half photo of students and inner city. Lipsyte narrates.
In the studio, Host Lipsyte introduces his guests, Stanley Litow, Director Interface; Mary France, Director, Office of Parent Involvement; Ursula Davis, Early Childhood Educator/NYC Public Schools
Mary France 15:29
no, I don't think that any, anybody who has sent his or her child to the system has gotten his or her money's worth. We, the schools have not in general, I mean, we have some schools that do very well. And we have some schools that do very poorly. But overall, they all could do better. Even the schools that are good. I mean, we just don't push the excellence as I think we should,
Robert Lipsyte 15:56
what would be a priority item? I mean, I know you're now at the desk of parent involvement. As Dr. Green talked about it. I guess.
Mary France 16:06
That's a priority item.
Robert Lipsyte 16:07
That's a priority item. definitely getting parents involved.
Mary France 16:10
Yes, I feel and I felt for years, that parents are the one piece that has been omitted, even within the school system as it is teachers have not had the kind of participation that they should have been given also, there has not been enough interaction between administrators and teachers. But the parents have not had any participation. And when we get the three, the different constituents working together, I think we can start to really move in a positive way. So to me, parent involvement is the most important issue because you have to start very soon, very early. The parents are the first teachers and together if we work together, I think we can do some positive stuff. And that's what I'm looking forward to.
Robert Lipsyte 16:53
Yes, your your idea would be that the new chancellor would be,
Mary France 16:56
Well last chancellor was really ready and I was so excited. Because he was really he, he always said embrace, and he really embraced, he embraced the teachers, he embraced the business people, he embraced his students, he embraced the teachers. I mean, there's the parents, he really had that. And whoever comes after must really be committed to working with everybody, first,
Ursula Davis 17:17
now show that the oldest studies show that if you have parents involved from the early childhood years on up that the children's achievement record will be much, much greater
Robert Lipsyte 17:27
Now Dr Green also talked about teacher involvement in the sense of putting teachers in the decision making process far more than they are now.
Ursula Davis 17:34
Yeah, I think we're all seeing around the country, especially in New York, that there's a real initiative to involve teachers in decision making rules, rolls in, let them really have decision making an input in terms of curriculum and all aspects of the school because once people are empowered, I know we've tried to do that. And for once people are empowered and believe in the system and believe that they have input. their achievements are just much greater
Robert Lipsyte 18:01
is that a priority item for you in terms of
Ursula Davis 18:04
oh its definitely a priority For me, at every level that teachers involved and investment invested parents and administrators, it has to be a real cooperative effort if we're going to make a real change in New York City,
Robert Lipsyte 18:16
Stanley. Now we're going to put you on the spot the 11th hour Search Committee, which included Carla and Danielle, who you saw before the students who felt that they wanted a radical, Chancellor bold and innovative. Mary France wants parents involved. And Ursula, of course, once teaches more of a I'm sure this informs or does it inform your thinking in some way?
Stanley Litow 18:37
Well, let the last time around. The Independent Advisory Committee on the search conducted a full day hearing and heard from 100 people in the system teachers, parents, advocates and the like about the qualities that they wanted. In a school Chancellor and the committee at that point under the leadership of former chancellor Bowker are identified four key ingredients. Number one, they wanted an educator of proven experience, somebody who understood the business of education understanding that this was a particular set of problems related to urban education. Second, they wanted a manager somebody who had a sense of how to manage and move the system. Third, they wanted a strategist because many of the changes that need to take place within the system involve a complex set of strategies in the city on a school level up in Albany and beyond. And last, I think, and perhaps most important, they wanted a leader, they wanted somebody who was going to project the fact that the system was in fact coming to grips with the kinds of problems that have been discussed, and would be leading the system on the way to reform and I essentially I think that all of the members of the committee agreed with that. And those were the guiding principles that
Robert Lipsyte 19:53
is hard to argue with those four but they do sound a little abstract to me, I must say, uh, some of the things that People have been talking about what turned them on to green so much was the fact that he was a role model for some many students in a system, one that he was black, and two, that he had such enthusiasm. Do you think it's important that the new chancellor be black?
Ursula Davis 20:17
I think it's important that the new chancellor be good. I mean, I think it was a real plus that he was a minority, when you have a system that is 75% minority and the teaching population, which is only about 15%. minority. So there are not a lot of role models for kids. And of course, that is important that in for black children and minority children, or non minority children, it's important for everybody to see minority peoples.
Robert Lipsyte 20:42
What about the fact that the so often, the system seems to go outside the system with the message, that they're not really bringing up their own? Do you think it's important that it'd be somebody who knows New York who came through,
Mary France 20:54
obviously, that does not have to be Chancellor green showed that because he was from outside. But it does have to be I think role models are extremely important. And I go back to that day at when I was introduced as the director of parent involvement and PS10. And the way he interacted with the children, this reaching out that he did, and one little boy had written, he was second grade, when I grow up, I want to be like Chancellor green, and I just keep going over and over this. And I think that
Robert Lipsyte 21:20
we can't wait for him that no, that was Stanley. Where do we stand now? I mean, the meetings have been going on all day, you know, where where is New York, in terms of the search?
Stanley Litow 21:32
Well, the Board of Education has an important decision to make the last time around, they turned to an independent search committee not to make the decision for them. But to essentially narrow down the choices and investigate from the generic options inside or outside or particular kinds of people into some very specific sets of names. I think that that's certainly based upon the past experience, that's one way to go and it might have some merit. I think that the question of how long that would take, and what's done on an interim basis, these are very, very important decisions and and a lot is riding on the board, I think we all have a great deal of sympathy for the difficult position that they were placed in, I think they're going to need an enormous amount of support from all levels of the community so that they can do, like Dr. Greene said, what's best for the children,
Ursula Davis 22:20
you mentioned knowing the system. And that I think is for a teacher even coming from a different system into our system, it's hard, it would be a real plus, as I see a real asset, if someone had a real knowledge of the bureaucratic system that we call the Board of Ed in order to be successful, I think possibly even to a quicker degree,
Robert Lipsyte 22:38
would you vote for Mecklowitz?
Ursula Davis 22:40
I really don't know Mecklowitz. You know, I don't know his track record, I think you mentioned something that is paramount that we need to look at the new chance for a new chancellor, somebody who has a real strong success record, from where they from wherever they come from, because it has to be they have, we have to, we need a dynamic leader to really turn the system around and green was trying to address that, because it needs to be redesigned almost, to make it really work for
Robert Lipsyte 23:05
from head to toe from head to toe. And also getting the parents involved, which which Dr. Green, as much as he spoke about it was not successful, in the sense that the community board election on May 2 has such a poor turnout, if people really did not get involved, and the same old suspects went back on the board.
Mary France 23:23
I think there were two reasons for that there. Two points I'd like to make, I'd like to talk about that. But I'd also like to talk about the panel that's going to be chosen to select the a new chancellor. And I believe for the first time it was an open process, which was wonderful precedent for the city of precedent. However, we didn't have teachers represented on that board, teachers from the system, and we did not have parents on that, quote, Blue Ribbon, Blue Ribbon always seems to say professional, but there are, I consider myself a professional, and I'm a parent, and let's himself as a parent, so it doesn't, we always seem to exclude the ordinary people who are really dealing with the children, the teachers, the parents. And I think when we look at a committee this time, they should be because when you say that you're important enough in what you think is important. That's when you begin to make change. This is why we were seeing change, because green was saying that to people, in terms of the second point about the community to school board elections. I think one reason that the elections were as poorly represented as they were, is that people really don't know didn't know to go to a lot of folks who had been running, we're not running. A lot of folks had machinery behind him. Now we have for the first time more parents running, who had no media to say here I am for people to know who they were there were no there was no mechanism to let people know who these folks were only your clubs that were placed, supported and showed, but the ordinary people
Robert Lipsyte 24:37
people didn't show up for the the pre election speeches. They didn't come to the meetings. I mean, it was really a lack of interest. Stanley, let me ask you this. Teacher involvement and parent involvement so critical. How is this really going to be translated into the choices? How are these thoughts going to be funneled into The selection process?
Stanley Litow 25:01
Well I think that the process that was used last time was a was a good one gathering a lot of input from a lot of sources within the community through the committee and through others that worked with the committee. I think that the point of putting a broader set of representation on the committee, as I understand is something that the Board of Education is considering. And although no decisions at this point, my sense is that they would probably want to make sure that the committee that they chose was as representative as possible. So I think that they will make every effort to make sure that all of the various voice are going to be heard
Robert Lipsyte 25:33
except that the message was shown by parents that they're not that interested on the really have to go out and get them.
Stanley Litow 25:39
I think you're absolutely right. And I think that the the message of the last school board election is a very complicated one. I mean, we had a court decision very shortly before the election, that complicated people's thinking about who was eligible to serve and who is eligible to run. I don't think it was possible to make it
Robert Lipsyte 25:56
Stanley I'm affriad we're gonna have to, I'm afraid leave it there. Stanley Litow Ursula Davis, Mary France. Thanks so much for being with us. This is the 11th hour I'm Robert Lipsyte.
Interview concludes. Lipsyte announces show and introduces himself. Show ends.
Credits over Eleventh Hour show graphics.
Funding for program by announcer and overlay the Eleventh Hour graphic.
Description: The Eleventh Hour - Show #205 Title: Next Chancellor Guests: Students from John Jay High School, Carla Allleyne and Danielle Corbie; Mary France, Dir. Ofc Parent Involvement; Ursula Davis, Educator Early Childhood; Stanley Littow, Dir.Interface; obert Wagner, Jr., President Board of Education; Original Broadcast Date: 5/18/89 Description: One week after the untimely death of school Chancellor, Richard Green, the city has started a search for his successor. How long will the search take, and can the public school system's problems be dealt with while the city tries to find a successor?
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