Klein is Sacrificed in the Quest for the Political Holy Grail: Is Cathleen Black Lady McBeth or Mother Teresa?

Thousands of mostly Black and Hispanic parents, community members, teachers and kids crammed into the cavernous Brooklyn Tech auditorium. The Chancellor and Mayor Bloomberg-appointed Board sat mutely on the stage as hundreds of speakers opposed the motion to close nineteen schools. A timer ticked away the seconds and the microphone was silenced after two minutes for each speaker. Dr. Annie Martin, the iconic leader of the Manhattan NAACP expressed her opposition, and, as she was nearing the end of her remarks her two minutes expired and the microphone was muted. In spite of the chant, “Let her speak,” from the massive audience the microphone remained off.
Miss Martin has been at the core of civil rights movement from the earliest days, from Martin Luther King to today she has marched in every march, stood shoulder to shoulder with civil rights activists and trade unions, and now, she was being disrespected.
The Mayor’s Chancellor and the Mayor’s Board, mostly white and well to do disrespected Miss Martin and disrespected the communities of color.
Rumor says the Mayor came close to firing the Chancellor on the spot.
The threat to release individual teacher VAM scores after promising not to release the scores, an aggressive, confrontational interview with the Staten Island Advance editorial board sealed the Chancellor’s doom.
Joel Klein had outlived his usefulness.
By the fall of 2011 the Mayor has to decide,
* In a sharply divided political universe could Mayor Bloomberg emerge as a third party presidential candidate?
* If the economy nosedives and Obama’s popularity continues to sink could Bloomberg take a run as a middle of the road democratic candidate?
* A Vice President on the Obama slate? or, on the Romney ticket?
Crime in New York City is at historic lows, the City budget is stressed, but balanced, no smoking rules in restaurants, no trans-fat, posting of calories, is Bloomberg positioning himself for whatever he chooses to run for?
The one thorn is education, a confrontational Chancellor, a Don Quixote racing around the nation tilting at teacher windmills, alienating teachers and parents, has became toxic, and was jettisoned.
Cathleen Black, the new schools chancellor.

 Cathleen Black (see bio here  and earnings here) is a corporate superstar, at ease in the board rooms across America, and a trusted confidante of the Mayor.
She may not be familiar with the intricacies of the Carol Tomlinson versus Mike Schmoker very public debate over differentiated instruction, but she may be able to negotiate the abolition of the ATR pool, the precarious 11-12 school year budget, and, oh yes, the teacher contract; then again, she may be a classy Joel Klein in drag (reference Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”).
The  total lack of any education credentials, three kids who went to boarding school, to be polite, little experience with life in the South Bronx and East New York, and probably has not seen too many Tyler Perry movies, not exactly a prime candidate for New York City Schools Chancellor.
On the other hand isn’t appointing a Chancellor with absolutely no knowledge of schools or schooling disrespecting a million kids?


How now, my lord, why do you keep alone,
Of sorriest fancies your companions making,
Using those thoughts which should indeed have died
With them they think on? Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done, is done.
Lady Mc Beth

5 responses to “Klein is Sacrificed in the Quest for the Political Holy Grail: Is Cathleen Black Lady McBeth or Mother Teresa?

  1. Truly disheartening. The Mayor got the State’s requirement that the Chancellor be an educator waived for Mr. Klein, a lawyer. So? What happened to the requirement? Was it waived again? Haven’t the last 8 years shown that schools are not corporations, students are not products on an assembly line, and teachers deserve the respect of the DOE, the students, and most of all the administration. When it works well the teacher student relationship is indeed special and life altering. Ms. Black is out of her league. The Mayor has again shown he’s clueless when it comes to education and the NYC public schools. And the kids are once again sacrificed.


  2. The NYC school system wakes this morning to a new era – or do we? It truly concerns me that the mayor continues to show, by his actions, that his fundamental belief is education is a business with a bottom line of test scores. To appoint a business woman with no educational experience nor experience in dealing with unions is truly disrespectful. Oh, by the way, I think I’ll consider being Surgeon General. Am I qualified? I’ve been to doctor visits and hospitals – isn’t that enough?


  3. All due respect to Olivia Koppell, but MB hired a corporate throat cutter to slice and dice the DOE budget. Next year will be fiscally worse for the public sector as the private sector’s gradual improvement will not yet provide any tax revenue, and the crash of the public sector will dampen and lengthen the recovery.

    It’s all about the money, and this Mayors positioning himself for a job as a fiscal conservative in the future. It’s NOT about the resultant ruining of many fragile kids future as the services they need are stripped.

    What’s been lost in the aftermath of the election is the exit polling which shows that about as many people want more Govt spending as those who want less. It got lost in the avalanche of money spent by wealthy/corp folk trying to keep their own taxes down and telling lies.


  4. We need a manager. A good manager saves money b/c the shortest, clearest path to the goal is chosen. Saving money means more money goes where it is suppose to go.
    We need a manager. We need a person who can explain the goals of this organization to all interested groups in a straight forward manner.
    We need a manager. Someone who has spent a long time working with difficult, brilliant, creative people who produce in pressurized circumstances and gets them squared away so they can do their job better.
    For the moment, right now, the UFT and other interested parties need to organize a loud, ribald send-off on the day that our boss, J.Klein, leaves Tweed and our professional lives forever.


  5. Harold Rothstein

    The funny thing about this is that when the BOE was run by educators the schools had to follow the law! Put in a lawyer as head honcho, and the DOE makes it’s own laws. it’s way. Clearly a double standard!!


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