Former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein Discusses Urgent need for School Choice in Matthew Taylor’s This Is New York
Director Matthew Taylor’s This Is New York documentary features an examination into the shocking state of New York City’s public schools and the urgent demand for more choice in schools. The film, which features former NYC Chancellor of Schools Joel Klein, explores the lack of discipline and safety facing thousands of the City’s children in public schools and testimonials from several parents who have found quality education for their sons and daughters in charter schools.
“When people have choice they get more engaged with the schools. If I tell you you’ve got to go to PS 9 over here and it sucks, and I’m saying you’ve got to go there and you have no choice, the odds that you’re going to get involved and become supportive are small,” Klein says in the documentary. “We have got to make sure that zip code does not decide the quality of your school. Because if it does, zip code will become destiny, and we will perpetuate failure.”
In addition to schools in certain districts becoming unsafe due to gang violence and criminal activities, other factors such as the City’s decision last year to end gifted and talented testing caused many parents to leave the public schools entirely. The added prolonged shutdown of in-person learning due to COVID-19 and its impact on children’s mental health has only exacerbated an already precarious situation in many public school districts.
Taylor, who has lived in New York for many years, made his documentary as someone trying to shed light on the problems plaguing the city he loves, including the decline in education. His objective is to show that while problems in New York have become deeply rooted and widespread, they can be solved and mitigated through practical solutions like access to charter schools.