« Freakonomics Radio

16. Exit Interview: Schools Chancellor, NYC

2011-01-05 | 🔗
Having already amassed an eventful resume -- the Clinton White House, the Department of Justice, and Bertelsmann -- Joel I. Klein spent the past eight years at chancellor of the biggest school system in the country. So what'd he learn?
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system in the country's one point: one million students, sixteen hundred schools at twenty three billion dollar. But He spent much of his career as a high voltage, Washington lawyer, arguing cases before the Supreme Court fighting antitrust battles for the Department of Justice and serving as deputy council to prison bill Clinton. He also had a brief stint in the media business heading up. U S operations for Bertelsmann and now he's heading back to the media business as executive. Vice president in charge of educational ventures for Newscorp Klein's tenure as schools. Chancellor, was very eventful, so What are they learn, Chancellor Klima, welcome to our exit intervene, as you surely know, many firms conduct an exit interview and when an employee is leaving to find out their experiences, so I just stress that you hear of your own accord. This is not mandatory, should feel free to m. Be candid
Nothing you say here will be used against. You will be forwarded to future employers unless, of course, sir listening to this programme, so here, the ok without you re to proceed, I'm ready. So after eight years too, Chancellor of in Europe, the school system- you are resigning you're leaving us. Why I think I had planned to do it for years when I started that sort or I talked to the mayor about, I faced decision really before the major election by the long stick around for the full term or not. He asked me say through the election, we kind of agreed on that, but I am ready and you know it is hard to say exactly what that means. I feel like I've done the things I should think the city would benefit from bringing in new chancellor who will have three years working with the mayor on this and far as I'm concerned, I've always wanted to have a career axis, and I've found a job very excited.
Now you are, you came to the job as Chancellor of Education, New York City, schools, with a great interest in education, can twelve education with a great us with it, with a robust set of beliefs in what was right in what was wrong, but now the veteran educators. So what was it like for you coming into to take her up? national job running schools, one point, one million kids massive massive job in something that you would not worked in before had them that experience unfurl added since complications, as well as its benefits, and I think that you know what happened. I was able to see this in a way that I think people who grew up inside the system, more unlikely to see it in I mean before those freakin onyx. I should believed and incentives and thought that they affect the way organist Asians work, and it seemed to me everything and Katy. Twelve is occasionally
Miss aligned, we incentivize all the wrong things, and so that was something I think coming from the outset. You see. On the other hand, I didn't pretend to be some great spurred on learning, serious development of the brain, or certainly what it was like Day to day in the trenches. I talk for a short period of time tunnel, icily law school, but it had taught secrete math way way back when but didn't pretend to be a veteran teacher and anyway it
you mean, though the greatest disadvantage was it enabled critics to say he's, not an educator. That, I think, is a mistake. I think, because somebody's taught for a few years, five years, a ten years, I dont, think, qualifies him to run a huge, complex organization. If I was you should say, I didn't think that the managing partner of law firm necessarily, should be aware large enough steeped in management and human capital and creating incentives and creating an organization. It's a problem, solving organization, other, not the things that people who are trained to do. You can be a great teacher and actually a poor principle, and we wonder there's always struck me as without people how to be a teacher first before you become a principle that seem to me to make no sense. Why should there be people wouldn't come in lad? The management skills, appoint a strong deputy, put together a team and get the work done? A couple
people who have worked for you discuss the fact that a lot of management positions at the Department of Ed were filled by people from a corporate or consulting background, as opposed to typically typical schools and typical in New York City Education Veterans why? What why'd? You do that had it work, so I didn't because I wanted a mix of skills. I mean I heard a lot of people from business schools, and I mean it's a twenty three billion dollar organization. Why would we think that a social studies, it would be the primary person to do budgets. Why would we think social studies teacher would be the primary person to do human, resources, you need human resource policies, recruitment policies, so I wide people who came from different backgrounds, all. I want to people who really were part of a performance culture who really thought that excellence and driving themselves in pushing forward, and I wanted them- come from whatever background I've got more in my car,
having now: I've got more senior educators than anybody else ever had. I've got probably for people of God, oh maybe fifty hundred eighty years among them in the system, but I've also got some people who come from a very different background. That's why you assemble a team, but where I could find talent whether wish, when a business schools at a loss, also the Kennedy School or even occasionally school of economics and on how I would go for these people and bring a man you sound as if you feel that you have accomplished an awful lot out of people who had second, that that you ve accomplished novel. I tried a lot of things failed at songbird, kept trying, others and so on. But how does her feeling now about your accomplishment. Compare with your expectation of that caution. I feel good about a foot in. I think, if you ask me there are still so many our common rules that make no sense world can throughout America lay Offs state municipal government there in trouble economically there looking at last
point two look any. I m sure we're gonna do lay offs lesson. First out I mean that is by definition not gonna, get us the right teachers. Nobody thinks an overarching and we ve got some veteran teachers shoe terrific and we should keep them around. Who did. I'd be our first priority to meant others, but only group think says all veteran teaches a better than all the new teaches. The recent teaches you recruited so that kind of wool. Dr nuts, I spent over a hundred million dollars right now is worth talking on a group of people who cannot get hired as full time teachers in the system, and they do basically substitute teaching, but I dont need substitute, teaches that I pay for full time teacher, so their wars like that rules in terms of some of the technology and the other things you talked about the school of one where they can release our keen regulations that I was in his ears.
and I still wish every single family in a city had at least one choice that nobody had to take whatever Zeus's reserve up middle class people for two years would never agree to a school system and which they automatically wanted, enabled school at whether was good, better indifferent and yet poor people who don't have the options can't move can afford private school poor people. We said we just take one in your done, whether it's good, Bad, and it seems to me, competition even in a incomplete fashion, will help drive forward the system we made it progress in that regard, but I think this war we could have made. I lit style it back. There pretend you're walking in its eight years ago, eight and a half years ago- and you know then what you know now an year even by this desire to be bolder, wouldn't tell me a couple things. You do off the bad if you are starting over what wonder now. I would do off the better, be much more heavily invested in this technology and learning proch platforms.
in a simple little thing. I have now seen a whole bunch of students working. The tutor online right in it. Exciting away in its wording. I mean I talked to the kids. I see the results so that something we should have done more. Were you reluctant to believe in that kind of use of technology coming? I wasn't, but there were you know, rules when you started there were basically one teacher, you know, etc, etc. I may you can The argument that using those tutors is violation of the contract or something like that, but I would push those things lot hard? I would have spoken out even more than I did on some of these our team rules that make no sense if there has been bet. You are in your administration in your inner in your in your term. I would probably most we would say it's a teachers union, there's all kinds of competing issues? How'd you You then, in your view, with the teachers union, how did you do? I think either we did ok, we got some import.
things done, we eliminated force placements so that two schools could hire people. We didn't dramatically satanic rules, which are they need dramatically being change both internally begets tenure, and what tenure me since the system, I think we ve gotta professionalized teaching and it's still too much If a trade union Assembly Line Detroit Model- and we ve got a move that- and I was I just About the teachers unions, my relationship, it's like that also now the glory love you give a little, you take a little and you let your poor heartbreak, a little That's the story of that's the glory of love. That's the story. Gloria labour management relations in the public sector. Coming up, we ask the chancellor to grade
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Free in the wandering happens? We're back with the freak economics, radio, exit interview? Here's your host Stevens Abner, we're talking to Joel Klein, who last week ended his eight year, run as New York City, schools, Chancellor, you oversaw, or undertook directly a lotta change. You know there is eliminating cleanly districts. There was putting your way fine charter schools in and all kinds of programmes, pilot programmes like school of one that we ve talked about before closing Performing schools, opening up a lot of new schools and assessed the changing, really the shape of the relationship between the departments that, with teachers and relationship with with parents and relationship with students. So I'd like you to give yourself a grades for me I'll. Let you break it down how you want their administrative tasks or public relations there in the classroom Tass. Third, financial tests, so tough tell me how you think you did in the different major departments, at your responsible, saw it
I think and ministries of Lee ran the farmer well made so Maris and NET, but some serious administrative errors, but an overall. I give us a good great on at good grade being what a b plus, the closer minus on leadership, which is really the overall realm and there I think, we're gonna, nay. I mean I think, it's the most comprehensive, most integrated education form in a country on an earlier about that about it. You know your pieces throughout the country these summit, I'm going on right now, others, but in terms of an eight year, run at restructuring the culture restructuring the components, that's what I thought the most important piece we did in a public relations. I would have democracy down some. It's not about public relations, I'm with people say you don't listen, but that's not true. I listened. I disagreed with a lot of people I didn't do is good enough job explaining to people why I thought, for example, closing the school that was persistently failing
Odin was something we needed to do. You ve had some interesting jobs. In the past, he worked in the White House, the damage in the Department of Justice Bertelsmann. How this compare this is best is, as you know, this was my passion. I really was my thing and I wandered do what I say. great jobs of love decline. White ass, running antitrust vision was terrific. I practice law before the United States Supreme Court is in a pellet advocate. I tried a lot of cases This thing was my thing and in I believed I bearing all all my life for it and I believe it was this rewarding is anything I could have done. A very good and final question. I understand that you have a dog that you love very much shit sue. Yes, yes, I do. What is this shit's his name since his name is Roger?
Roger, whose it's a male, it's a male and- and I have been told by people with whom you were quite closely- that that really this whole thing this whole leaving the job as Chancellor New York City, public schools is just really all about spending more time with awe well the true. This is really about spending more time with the dogs, mother, my wife ooze. The person- and I really want to spend more time so basically and the two of us was more time with Roger, but you know moving into his adolescents. Now, as you probably know, dogs in around less is needed a lot of time, so booger we're gonna, give him you probably focusing it. I wish you the best of luck and thanks for stopping
Thank you place. Do you ve got to learn: Reaganomics radios, a co production of W and Y see american public media and debonnair productions. Our producers include calling Campbell, Susie, Luxembourg, Jeff Miscentes and Chris nearly David, That is our engineer. Subscribe to this part cast on Itunes and you'll, get the next episode in your sleep you- can find more audio it for economics, radio, dot com and As always, if you want to check out the blood, the books and more for economics go to Freak atomic stock com
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-19.