One Step Forward, One Step Back
After three months of contention and dropping popularity ratings (last week, she was at 17 percent), School Chancellor Cathie Black is gone. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who appointed Black without much public consultation, he took the blame for her failures. “I will say I take full responsibility for the fact that this has not worked out as either of us had hoped,” Bloomberg said. “We both agreed the story had become about her, and it should be about the students.” Those who argued that Bloomberg should not have appointed Black in the first place because of her lack of educational experience and credentials cheered the mayor’s announcement. Black was nowhere to be seen at the mayor’s press conference. For many, Black’s “resignation” was a step in the right direction and had hope that the mayor would appoint a real educational pro to take the reins of the troubled public school system. That was not to be. There were groans galore when the mayor then announced that he would appoint his longtime stooge, Deputy Mayor for Education Dennis Walcott, as the new chancellor. Walcott has long been the quintessential yes man for the mayor’s failed educational policies and an apologist for Bloomberg when tests scores and graduation rates where shown not to be all that Bloomberg said they were. Even though he had two years of teaching experience a long time ago and holds a master’s degree in education, he will need a waiver from the State Education Department in order to hold the job because it requires an educational supervisor’s certificate. We hope that the State Education Commissioner will learn from his mistake of approving Black for the job and ask instead for a real educator in the top city slot. We don’t have too much hope that it will happen, however. What Bloomberg wants, Bloomberg gets.