Question: Where are you from?
Joel Klein: I was actually born in the Bronx right after the Second World War. My father had just come back from the war and married my mother. Then, before I remember, we moved to Brooklyn, right across the street from my mother’s parents. And when I was about seven or eight, we moved to Queens, which is really where I consider having grown up.
I grew up in public housing in Queens, and grew up in the streets of New York. I always like to think of myself as a kid from the streets, and education changed my life.
My father had dropped out of high school in the 10th grade during the great depression. My mother graduated from high school and never went to college.
But education in Astoria really changed my life. I like to describe it that basically I stood on the shoulders of teachers to see a world that I couldn’t have seen growing up in the family that I grew up in.
Recorded on: March 30, 2008