October 17, 2009 (GBN News): Questions continue to linger over the recent balloon incident involving NY City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. The Chancellor had seemingly floated away in an experimental balloon developed by a group of eccentric scientists at the Department of Education. But Mr. Klein was later found to be hiding out in the attic of the DOE headquarters at Tweed Courthouse.
The purpose of the balloon remains unclear, though sources at the DOE indicated that it may have been some sort of “trial balloon” involving a new reorganization of the city schools. But suspicions have grown that the entire incident may have been a publicity stunt. The suspicions were fed by a statement made by the Chancellor at a news conference with Mayor Bloomberg. The Mayor had asked Mr. Klein why he hid out in the Tweed attic, to which the Chancellor replied, “You said we did this for a show.”
J. Fredrick Runson, professor of Educational Aerodynamics at Manhattan University, thinks that this was all an elaborate hoax to divert the public’s attention from the recently released NAEP math scores. The NY State scores on this respected national test, which showed no significant gains, are thought by many to cast doubt on the Mayor's and Chancellor’s claims of huge improvement in the city schools. Dr. Runson, in a telephone interview with GBN News, said “The NAEP has to be a huge embarrassment for Bloomberg and Klein. Their whole concept of school reform got deflated, just like that balloon. I guess either they thought this stunt would generate sympathy for them, or Klein was just trying to skip town. But unlike that family in Colorado, the voters will get to pass their own judgment on this one in November.”