Mayor Defends Joel Klein Against DOE Attacks

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his top education official today, a day after City Comptroller William Thompson called for Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to be fired.

Thompson, the leading Democratic candidate for mayor, called for Joel Klein to be removed as schools chancellor on NY1′s “Road To City Hall.”

Yesterday, Thompson’s office released an audit accusing the Department of Education inflating graduation rates, yet Bloomberg did not find the figures to be convincing.

“Joel Klein has done what he’s supposed to do, make the very tough decisions,” said the mayor. That’s never popular, but it’s because of he and all of the other people working in the Department of [Education] who, instead of pandering and caving into every special interest group, made the decisions that have given tens of thousands – hundreds of thousands – of our children the opportunity for a great life.”

Today, Thompson released a second audit on the DOE, in which he accused the department of creating an environment that encourages cheating and test score manipulation.

“To ensure that the controls are in place to protect the safety and soundness of the Department of Education’s testing program, we audited the oversight of the testing process,” said Thompson. “We did not find new, specific instances of cheating, but we found an environment ripe for cheating.”

“I have great confidence in the numbers that the Department of Education uses,” said Bloomberg. “A lot of time people criticize them for monkeying around with the numbers and they’re state numbers, they’re not even our numbers.”

Source: NY1

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