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Joel I. Klein: Wikis


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Joel Klein

Assumed office 
August 19, 2002
Appointed by Michael Bloomberg
Preceded by Harold O. Levy

Born October 25, 1946 (1946-10-25) (age 63)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Columbia University (B.A.)
Religion Jewish

Joel Irwin Klein (born October 25, 1946) is Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest public school system in the United States, serving more than 1.1 million students in more than 1,420 schools.

Prior to his appointment to Chancellor in 2002[1] by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Klein was Counsel to Bertelsmann and served as United States Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity, he was the lead prosecutor in the antitrust case United States v. Microsoft. Before heading the Antitrust Division, Klein was the deputy to Anne Bingaman (the wife of Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico) in that office, and worked in the White House Counsel's office. He was in private practice for many years, specializing in appellate cases. Klein received his B.A. from Columbia and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He served as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. Klein is married to Nicole Seligman, General Counsel to Howard Stringer of Sony Corp. Seligman represented former President Bill Clinton during impeachment proceedings in the United States Senate. Klein is rumored to aspire to succeed Bloomberg as Mayor of the City of New York.

Klein delivered the keynote address at Columbia College’s 2008 Class Day on May 19.[2] He also gave the 2008 commencement speech for the Georgetown University Law Center on May 18.[3]

Klein was rumored to be one of Barack Obama's candidates for Secretary of Education.[4] Ultimately, the position went to the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan.


Early life

Klein was born October 25, 1946 in the Astoria, Queens neighborhood of New York City. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1971, Klein clerked for Chief Judge David Bazelon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1973 until 1974, before then clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. In 1975 Klein joined the legal team of the Washington, D.C. non-profit Mental Health Law Project. The MHLP was an independent non-profit organization that brought class-action suits to establish rights for mentally and developmentally disabled clients. In that capacity, Klein developed a specialty in health care and constitutional matters.[5]

Work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Despite their opposing positions in the Justice Department antitrust case against Microsoft, Klein was able to work with the Gates Foundation to fund the creation of smaller schools in New York City. At the 43 small high schools funded by the Gates Foundation graduation rates are 73% compared to 53% at the schools they replaced.[6]

New York City School Chancellor

In 1998, before Klein became Chancellor, the New York City Board of Education transferred responsibility for school safety to the New York City Police Department.[7] Klein has been criticized for not seeking to alter this arrangement or to curb the conduct of the Police Department's school safety agents in the face of allegations of abuse.[7][8] Klein has praised the work of the school safety agents in contributing to a decrease in crime in the public schools.[9]

On June 30, 2009, the New York State Senate declined to renew mayoral control. Mayoral control had allowed Mayor Bloomberg to have complete control of the school system.[10]

Academic freedom controversy

Klein fired Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi from the NYC teacher training program, reportedly because of Khalidi's political views.[11] Controversy erupted over Klein's decision to limit academic freedom and fire a renowned Middle East scholar on the basis he was not pro-Israel. After the controversial decision, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger spoke out on Khalidi's behalf, writing: "The department's decision to dismiss Professor Khalidi from the program was wrong and violates First Amendment principles... The decision was based solely on his purported political views and was made without any consultation and apparently without any review of the facts."[11] The program's creator Mark Willner stated that (Khalidi) "spoke on geography and demography," and that "There was nothing controversial, nothing political."[11]


  1. ^ Chancellor Joel I. Klein
  2. ^
  3. ^ Georgetown University: Commencement Address: Law Center
  4. ^ Murray, Shailagh (2008-11-05). "Early Transition Decisions to Shape Obama Presidency". Washington Post.  
  5. ^ Joel I. Klein Biography
  6. ^ Melinda Gates goes public
  7. ^ a b Lieberman, Donna (September 10, 2008). "Column: Unchecked Policing at Our Schools (New York Metro)". New York Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 2008-11-14.  
  8. ^ Hentoff, Nat (October 28, 2008), "Bloomberg's Cops Illegally Cuffing Kids Under 16?", The Village Voice,  
  9. ^ New York City (August 5, 2008). "Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly, and Schools Chancellor Klein Announce an 11 Percent Drop in Major Felony Crime in City Schools During the 2007-08 School Year". Press release. Retrieved 2008-11-14.  
  10. ^ Kenneth Lovett and Glenn Blain, "Senate Democrats shoot down mayoral control of schools, city income tax hike", "New York Daily News" June 30, 2009
  11. ^ a b c Purnick, Joyse (February 28, 2005). "Some Limits on Speech in Classrooms". Metro Matters. The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-12.  

External links

Preceded by
Harold O. Levy
Schools Chancellor of New York City
2002 - Present
Succeeded by


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