View Full Version : All NYC With Deal, Bloomberg’s Pick Wins Helm of City Schools

11-30-2010, 11:29 AM
This from the N.Y. Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyregion/30waiver.html) by Sharon Otterman:

Cathleen P. Black, a publishing executive, won the helm of New York City’s public school system on Monday with a waiver from the state education commissioner that said her inexperience in education would be offset in part by the appointment of a chief academic officer to serve by her side.

In a compromise with the commissioner, David M. Steiner, Ms. Black agreed last week to compensate for her lack of education credentials by installing, as her first act, an experienced educator as her chief deputy, to administer and supervise instruction in the city’s 1,600 schools. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pledged on Friday that the deputy would operate “with the broadest scope for the exercise of independent initiative and judgment.”

It was the latest in a series of pledges over nearly nine years that Mr. Bloomberg has made to state legislators and officials to secure approval for his control of the school system. During that time, his administration says, it has followed the letter of the law on mayoral control.

But critics say the mayor’s record of success in living up to the spirit of those promises has been mixed.

When the Legislature granted him control of the schools in 2002, Mr. Bloomberg pledged to maintain the 32 independent school districts in at least some form, and agreed to create an oversight panel that would succeed the Board of Education. He moved to reorganize the districts as one of his first acts, leading to a lawsuit that the city settled by agreeing to keep small offices in each district. In 2004, he dismissed members of the panel who disagreed with his views on social promotion.

“The districts and the community education councils have their functions, and we continue to meet those functions, according to the letter of the law,” said Dennis M. Walcott, the deputy mayor in charge of education. As for the panel, he said, it was always intended to be controlled by the mayor.

The current chancellor, Joel I. Klein, agreed to have a chief deputy in charge of instruction when he was granted a similar waiver in 2002. But it was not made a condition of his approval, and over the years, his administration de-emphasized and then eliminated it.

Pedro Noguera, an education policy professor at New York University, said, “No one thought that mayoral control would mean that the mayor would be the only person who makes decisions.” Yet that, he said, is how it had largely turned out.

“There was supposed to be some system of checks and balances,” Dr. Noguera said, “and as it stands now, there’s no way for the public to hold the mayor accountable for the schools other than every four years when he runs for office.”

read more>> (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/nyregion/30waiver.html)