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Joel Klein promises to leave in January no matter what

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein vowed tonight that he will absolutely leave his position in January — even if efforts to block Mayor Bloomberg’s chosen successor succeed. Klein spoke at a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy that held few distinctions except for the fact that it will be his last.

“I know it’s been controversial, but controversy is a necessary part of education,” Klein said, reflecting on his eight-plus years as chancellor. “I respect that, and I understand that when you do make changes and look at things differently that it’s going to upset people.”

He added, “I don’t know of any other way to change a system.”

The Panel for Educational Policy is the current incarnation of the city school board, formed in 2002 just as Mayor Bloomberg won control of the city schools and named Klein chancellor. Despite the historic circumstances, tonight’s meeting plugged along unremarkably, as many others have. Some protesting members of the public did attend, but they had a narrow issue in mind: opposition to the planned expansion of a small middle school in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Technical High School held tonight’s meeting.

Other panel meetings this year have included loud protests by busloads of parents who target Klein personally for everything from closing schools to overseeing falling test scores. Tonight’s tone harkened more to the first-ever meeting of the panel, which the New York Times described this way in a headline the next day:

A New Sort of School Board, Bland and Calm

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