[Cathie] Black, appointed by a billionaire businessman, reeked of dilettante perfume. Preposterously, she pleaded for "patience" in her introductory news conference. "Patience" so she could get up to speed on all the issues facing urban schools. As I wrote then, "The game was up with one word." Imagine a defense secretary asking for patience while he or she got up to speed on all the dangers facing America, or a police commissioner asking for patience while he or she got up to speed on the nature of gun crime. More to the point, imagine an under-the-gun principal or teacher - who we increasingly judge on results - asking for patience for a few months; the school system would say, flatly, no...Joshua Greenman in the Daily News (hat tip: Eduwonk).
Now, Black is out, and Dennis Walcott - a far more competent reformer who genuinely seems to care about the schools - is taking her place. But to a large extent, the damage is done. In the eyes of the naysayers, Bloomberg hasn't just demonstrated a healthy belief in reform; he's demonstrated total contempt for professional educators, and he will no longer be trusted.
The school reformers deserve to win this long war. But to do that, they'll have to stop shooting themselves in every appendage.