Critics Protest Bloomberg’s Schools Chief Choice

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg says his choice to lead New York City’s public schools is a “world-class manager,” but not everyone is convinced she is the right person for the job of schools chancellor.

Bloomberg recently announced that he had chosen Hearst magazines chairwoman Cathie Black to replace outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein.

Civil rights leaders and parent activists protested Black’s appointment at a news conference Sunday in front of the Tweed Education Building on Chambers Street.

They urged the state education commissioner not to grant Black the waiver she would need to lead New York City’s 1.1 million-pupil school system.

Klein, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor, also needed a waiver before he could take over as chancellor.

Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel said the selection of Black set a “horrible precedent.”

“Are we going to appoint someone to be the head of the police department who has no law enforcement experience,” Siegel asked Sunday on WCBS 880.

Black has no background as an educator and sent her own children to a private boarding school.

At the news conference, parent activist Leonie Haimson, who heads a group called Class Size Matters said Black is not qualified to be chancellor.

“If you haven’t been a teacher you don’t know how difficult it is, and you don’t know that what matters most happens inside the classroom between a teacher and students,” Haimson said.

Critics also said Black’s privileged background made her an inappropriate choice.

“How is somebody who only knows people exactly like themselves going to relate to the Asian immigrants or the black students or the Hispanic students?” said Manhattan public school parent Tina Schiller.

Siegel said “Miss Black appears to lack the educational credentials and qualifications to be the New York City Chancellor” and even said the selection “raised the specter of cronyism.”

“There appears to have been no process undertaken that accords with the principles and values associated with equal employment opportunity.”

“The right thing to do here is for the state commissioner to turn down the waiver request and to tell the mayor that he has to engage in a public search process leading to the best educator that we can find to lead our public schools.”

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Ed Greenspan

    McCarthyism. Sorry for typing error.
    Teachers had to get master’s degrees within 5 years of appointment to maintain their licenses. Will Ms. Black get her master’s within 5 years of her appointment?
    Does Ms. Black know what a shelter drill is? Would she be willing to take coverages? Let’s see how she would do with a class of nearly 40 children each day. Will she give demonstration lessons to novice teachers? Of course not. She is NOT qualified for the job. I’m not qualified to be police, fire or sanitation commissioner either and I admit it.

  • Ed G

    We had Harold Levy and Joel Klein, non-educators, running the system and it was never worse.
    Morale in the school is down. Fear and intimidation are the words of the day. McCartthyism permeates the corridors of the schools. Discipline has all but collapsed in far too many schools. What did Klein do for overcrowding? Nothing. Class sizes are outrageous. What has Klein done for excessed teachers? Nothing.
    We need a committee of active and retired teachers and supervisors running our schools with strong parental input. As a retiree, I could do a better job along with felllow retiirees and active members.
    Ms. Black is just being brought in to destroy the UFT.
    You’ve got to be a teacher to understand the rigors of classroom teaching. We spoke about corrupt school boards? What is the mayor doing? He is putting in a crony just like the school boards did years ago.

  • Barry

    Good Job Mike! Finally someone is recognizing that the way to run large organizations is with managers not “experts.” We had decades of experts and the result was a morass. Klein started the recovery but it will many more years to fix. If teachers were so concerned about education, what about the tens of millions we have to pay useless teachers that no one wants and spend their day sitting around getting paid because of union rules. Accountability is the key. Maybe more teachers should learn to teach rather than take the easy way out and “teach to the test.”

  • floyd bannister

    no way will this woman ever get appointed and bloomberg knows it…..i’m sure he’s got someone else that he really wants waiting in the wings that is more palatable to the decision makers… for the next person, that’s the one!

  • Stan Zlotnick

    PS. And stop knocking my Mayor, Mike Bloomberg. Let’s see the teachers today build a multi billion dollar media empire, regulate gun control, become Mayor, stop 2nd hand smoke, fight obesity, clean the Staten Island dump, etc., etc,, etc. and be one of the best if not the best damn mayor since Fiorello LaGuardia. What do the dummies of today remember about the last 50 or 60 years of politicians in NYC. Maybe you want another Mayor Lindsay? Wake up and smell the stench.

    • Samantha

      I assume, Mr. Zlotnick, that you agree that if Mayor Bloomberg wanted to put the CEO of News Corp as the Police Commissioner, that would be acceptable because of all the other “wonderful” things he has done as you listed so well. It does not matter that the person he has chosed has never dealt with the public school system, ever and has no experience with unions or has never taught a class. She chose to send her children to private schools, but we should just trust her to do the right thing for our kids. And the way the Mayor does his choosing is very secretive. Running a city is not a business and must be done in public. This is wrong on so many levels, Mr. Zlotnick.

  • Stan Zlotnick

    Who needs a stickin bureaucrat to be Chancellor. We need a real leader that kicks ass and knows that the unions are out of step with the kids. They care about their deep pockets, lobbyists and paid off politicians. To me, the UFT is just a big thorn in the side of progress for moving the education of this country ahead. Example, lack of support of charters. You can’t expect someone from the NYC school system to take over. There hasn’t been a good education system since I went to school 40 years ago. Teachers kicked ass in those days and we gave them respect. Give Cathie a chance. She’s got to better than another Pelosi. I even think she can become great friends with Randi.

    • Mary ann Cuteliss

      You obviously do not teach Mr. Ziotnick. You also sound a bit angry and have obviously swallowed a huge marketing pill the business reformers are putting out. Let’s begin, the scores going up, that was a lie, holding teachers responsible for high stakes testing scores kills creativity in the classroom for teachers must teach to the test. No, I will not give Cathy a chance. would you hire an electrician to do your heart surgery? Such amazing disrespect and anger towards educators is uncalled for. Teachers literally kicked ass those days. I remember kids being hit….these days kids come with all sorts of problems and now they want to adjust our pay based on their progress. How is it a teacher’s job to fix all society’s problem. If you do any reading at all you will learn that in MA the unions are very strong and surprisingly the test scores are high….

  • James

    Emperor Bloomberg has chosen another businessperson like himself to run a very critical city agency and we have to stand by and accept it. Or well, I certainly didn’t vote for this man and NYer’s are getting what they paid for. So sit back and relax folks the worse is yet to come from Emperor Bloomberg.

    • mary ann Cuteliss

      yeap….you stupid enough to vote for him…!

  • Dora Glasberg

    I wouldn’t cross HER.

  • BF

    Give the witch a stock and she can beat the kids into learning… who needs to be qualified with that face.

  • Rene

    This is kinda like when McCain picked Palin… You need to live public education to understand what the priority of the issues are. Mike, I hold you in the highest regard but this feels bad.

  • hammy

    running a school system is not the same as education programs. The school system is a huge business and best be run by a business person, she can hire and build the right structure to do the hands on educating work.

    Besides bloomy had no qualifications somehow he became a 3 term mayor, and more than half the people in the city voted for this each time…..

    • Mary ann Cuteliss

      all fraud!

    • mary ann Cuteliss

      a business? disgusting! shame on you. You have any kids? your kids are turned to just numbers. Dis you know that the testing company CEOs make millions and don’t pay taxes……it should NOT be a business. period. shame on you!

    • Josh

      He bought 3 terms and our city has suffered ever since. More people voted in favor of term limits (both times) than they ever did in support of Bloomberg. I have nothing against Black, but the selection was another backdoor move by Bloomberg to subvert an open, transparent process. To even suggest that Bloomberg has done a good job is naive and ignorant of the facts hammy.

      • Vondora Jordan

        i agree very much,,,

  • Carol

    As a NYC teacher I can see how difficult it must be to hold the position of NYC Schools Chancellor- -even for a person with many years of teaching experience in NYC. However, Ms. Black is highly UN-qualified for that job since she has never even taught school in any school system or level.! By hiring a non-experienced person, for this i position, we are belittling the position of Chancellor!

  • SickofBloomberg

    Excuse me industry, but the ‘Union” emplyees are QUALIFIED to work in the schools, have met ALL of the requirements, and are entitled to FAIR COMPENSATION. Ms. Black’s ONLY qualification is that she can stand to look at Hitlerberg’s face for more than 2 minutes and is willing tokiss his b u t t !

  • industry

    i am not a New York City resident but see the same approach everywhere.

    Politicians create the “appearance” of change while maintaining the status quo.
    All of the Unions involved in our schools systems have FAR more concerned
    with their salaries, benefits and retirements than the children.

    There is no point discussing the matter – it is a done deal.

    Private and Religious Schools are the _only_ way a child can get
    a guarantee of a complete education.

    We are finished as a Country.
    Politicians no longer serve the Public, they serve themselves.

  • andy warhol

    so bloomberg to pick her, she’s awful

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