Adam Dayan, Esq.
Cathie Black Set To Take Over As Chancellor Of NYC Public Schools
If Cathie Black's appointment as successor to Joel Klein as chancellor of the NYC public schools came as a surprise to you, you're in good company because many of the important people at the DOE didn't know about it either. The choice of Cathie Black as the next chancellor is surprising. For the most part Cathie Black has zero experience in the world of education (the closest she comes is that her husband is a lawyer for an organization called Institute of International Education). My first instinct can be summed up by a quote in the Wall Street Journal by someone who eloquently said that you don't want someone who has never steered a ship to be your captain when you are traveling across the ocean in rough waters, which is such an appropriate analogy because these are some rough times. Klein didn't have much education experience either so you start to see a pattern with Bloomberg's selections.
New York City's public school system is the largest in the country with a reported 1,600 public schools and 1.1 million students. Those are some big numbers. And what does Ms. Black know about running a school system? I get that she's a "superstar manager" as Bloomberg puts it, but how is that going to translate into fixing the major problems that are currently plaguing our school system. You question whether she has ever even been inside a public school and whether she knows anything about how the system works. And what perhaps is more concerning is what her relationship is going to be with the unions. "I've had limited exposure to unions," she said. Well I hope you have some innovative ways of dealing with them because they are kind of standing in the way of progress and reform. What does it mean when the president of the UFT offers to "help her" - is that some type of overture? And how much longer are the teachers' unions going to continue putting their needs before childrens' needs while claiming that they are putting children's needs first? I'm not ruling out that Ms. Black can effect positive change - but I hope she understands the magnitude of the job she is taking on.