Flash: News Sources Report That Chancellor Carmen Farina Will Be Leaving “Early Next Year.”

Flash: Numerous news sources report that Chancellor Carmen Farina will be leaving “early next year” and the national search is underway.

I expect that parents and advocates will call for a search committee that includes a range of stakeholders. In selecting City University presidents the CUNY Board of Trustees creates an advisory committee consisting of alumni, faculty and students; the advisory group signs confidentiality agreements and participates in the process, the final decision is made by the Trustees.

The selection of a replacement chancellor will be made by the Panel for Education Priorities (PEP), the New York City Central Board of Education, remember, the system is a mayoral control system, and the mayor appoints a majority of the PEP.  The real world: the mayor will pick the chancellor.

Four years ago the mayor carried out quick and secretive interviews and rapidly selected Farina, a former community superintendent in the mayor’s home district who served as deputy chancellor under Joel Klein.

The speculation is rampant.

The easiest path is to select from within, promote one of the deputy chancellors or select from a former high level department staffer.

Four members of the Board of Regents are former New York City superintendents: Betty Rosa, the current leader of the Board of Regents as well as Judy Chin, Lester Young and Kathleen Cashin; all were highly regarded.

Former deputy Chancellors Eric Nadelstern is now at Columbia Teachers College and Shael Suransky is the President of Bank Street College.

Former chancellor Rudy Crew is the President of Medgar Evers College, part of the City University, although he might be more interested in the CUNY Chancellor position, the current chancellor has announced he is leaving at the end of the academic year.

Richard Buery, the Deputy Mayor for Special Projects has announced he is leaving the administration; however, Buery would require a waiver from the Board of Regents.

If you just checked on resumes the creator of the Chancellor’s District in New York City, who followed up as superintendent in Cleveland and Chicago was courted by de Blasio four years ago, unfortunately Barbara Byrd Bennett is currently in federal prison.

Josh Starr was a high ranking official under Joel Klein, the superintendent in Stamford, Connecticut and Montgomery County in Maryland.

Identity politics plays a role; electeds and advocacy organizations will lobby for a person of color, the union seeks a chancellor with whom they feel “comfortable.” Those on the right will seek a chancellor more favorable to charter schools and stricter discipline. Those across the spectrum continue to be suspicious of charter schools, favor moving away from testing, lower class size, more community schools, fewer screened programs and definitely aggressively moving to more school integration.

In the nineteenth century the line for patronage jobs would be around the block. Today lobbyists, think tanks and self-described reformers will be peppering the new gal/guy with their latest silver bullet.

Eric Nadelstern would argue that repairing struggling schools doesn’t work, close schools and grant schools, school leaders and staffs, wide discretion in policy-making at the school level.

Other say: fold up the ATR pool, send all ATRs back to schools, they would argue there is no evidence that current Open Market system has improved educational outcomes.

Superintendent after superintendent chancellor after chancellor: what has changed?

Regents Cashin and Rosa were highly successful superintendents, only to see gains wane after they left. Nadelstern proudly points to significantly higher achievement in the small school that replaced the large dysfunctional high schools, only to see small high schools that are also Renewal Schools struggle and end up on the closing list.

Do “reforms” depend on the value of the reform/idea or the ability of the person driving the reform?

The poorest neighborhoods have the lowest achieving schools; hundreds of screened schools collect up the higher achieving students, and, play a major role in keeping higher income families in the city.  Should “measure” schools by achievement or growth?

In an era of “if it bleeds it leads” journalism and politics every action is scrutinized and will be excoriated by one side the other, and, the sides are many.

Joel Klein moved from massive reorganization to reorganization, from reform to reform, closed and created hundreds of schools and eventually was chased out by his original benefactor Mayor Bloomberg. Klein was followed by Cathy Black (we hardly got to know you) and the amiable Dennis Walcott.

Aside from surrounding yourself with highly competent senior staff, having a vision, and being extremely adept at dealing with the media, the electeds, the many advocates, the think tanks and especially the unions, the next chancellor must bend to the will of the mayor as well as being to point to “victories.”

Over the next month or so the mayor will select this Moses-Jesus-Mohammad-Ghandi-like figure, and, I wish her/him luck.

BTW, does a scepter and orb come with the job?

3 responses to “Flash: News Sources Report That Chancellor Carmen Farina Will Be Leaving “Early Next Year.”

  1. I don’t want to quibble but what percentage of new small struggling under top down management have wound up on the Rdbewal Schools rolls.

    I also need to remind all of us that anyone who wants this job should never be chancellor.


    • Disagree! Leaders have got to want to lead.

      I also think you would be great at it (even better if an eye on geographic communities could be woven into the fabric of the networks you would surely bring back and if another war with the union would, kindly, not occur (please and thank you!)).

      This isn’t a dictatorship here. Today’s Tweed is different. It is largely run by City Hall, and is dependant more upon experts who are distributed throughout the city, as opposed to assigned to Tweed (in fact, I think if 80% of Teeed were emptied tomorrow, much of the department would operate as though nothing happend). I lile this, as it distributes much of that power.


  2. Pingback: Here’s how the New York City education world is responding to Carmen Fariña’s (re-)retirement | Chalkbeat

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