View Full Version : All NYC Incoming NYC schools chancellor Dennis Walcott sets a new tone

04-18-2011, 09:20 AM
This from the Hechinger Report (http://hechingerreport.org/content/incoming-nyc-schools-chancellor-sets-a-new-tone_5618/) by Davin McHenry:
Dennis Walcott takes over the New York City public schools today, becoming its third chancellor in four months. He is also the fourth chancellor in a row to need a waiver for the job.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appointment of Walcott is the latest in a series of moves by high-ranking education officials, both in the Big Apple and around the country. Los Angeles and New Orleans have named new leaders — John Deasy and John White, respectively — while many other cities are still looking. Atlanta, Chicago and Newark are three of the largest. The candidate pool isn’t deep.

Walcott spoke at Columbia University’s Teachers College on Saturday morning, filling in for ousted Chancellor Cathie Black, who was originally scheduled to speak as part of the day-long “academic festival.”

While Black quickly gained a reputation for verbal faux pas and blunt remarks, Walcott was warm and light, cracking jokes about his recent high-profile stint making waffles for students—and even jokingly flirting with the namesake of the morning lecture, Phyllis L. Kossoff.

Walcott’s charm even moved the crowd to applaud the much-maligned Black.

Carefully avoiding new policy announcements, Walcott focused most of his speech on trying to bridge different sides in the reform debate. He told the crowd about his childhood in Queens—noting that he grew up, and attended public schools, in the same borough as Joel Klein—and the role that great teachers had in his success.

“Unfortunately that’s not a storyline we hear as often as we should, especially when it comes to education. The conversation we hear about is poor versus the wealthy. Charter schools versus district schools. And who is to blame for the failures of our education system. People on both sides of this debate have been guilty of contributing to the current polarized atmosphere,” Walcott said.

“The poisonous debate is hurting our children, plain and simple. And they don’t have time to wait for us to grow up,” he continued. “The problems facing our schools are extremely complicated. They can’t be summed up in ten-word sound-bites. And above all they can’t be solved until we start listening and working together.”

Walcott said he wants high-quality schools in the city, regardless of whether they’re traditional public schools or charters. “I want options. I love options. … I want people to be able to choose.”

Other highlights from Walcott’s speech:

read more>> (http://hechingerreport.org/content/incoming-nyc-schools-chancellor-sets-a-new-tone_5618/)