Incoming Schools Chancellor Seeks Calmer Debate

April 18, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — Dennis M. Walcott said Saturday that he planned to use a softer touch as New York City’s new schools chancellor to ease the bitter rhetorical battles that have caused wide divisions among teachers, parents and bureaucrats. But Mr. Walcott also made it clear that he did not plan any major shifts in Education Department policy.  Speaking at Teachers College at Columbia University in his first speech since his appointment April 7, Mr. Walcott called the current tenor of the debates over teacher layoffs, standardized testing and charter schools “poisonous,” and he acknowledged it had led to morale problems among teachers. “People on both sides of this debate have been guilty of contributing to the current polarized atmosphere,” Mr. Walcott said. “I view my transition to the role of chancellor as an opportunity for us to begin anew.”

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