New No. 2 at City Schools Believes in More Testing
Published: December 13, 2010
He stood out at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., an experimental school light on structure that was mockingly called “Commie High,” and at Brown, the Ivy League university known for giving students free rein, and where one of his inspirations was an education dean who espoused flexibility in teaching.
Today, Shael Polakow-Suransky is the chief accountability officer of the New York City Department of Education, a job that is as institutional as they come. He traffics in hard numbers, overseeing a system that assigns grades to schools based on complex and fixed formulas, in which success depends largely on how students score on a single test.
On Jan. 3, he will become the No. 2 official in the nation’s largest school system, the educational counterpart toCathleen P. Black, the businesswoman chancellor. Because of his background at Brown and as a teacher familiar with real-world classroom challenges, his appointment tempered some fears that Ms. Black would run the schools too much by the numbers. But one thing Mr. Polakow-Suransky and his colleagues make clear is that he is a believer in the