Friday, April 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

[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...

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.
Joshua Greenman in the Daily News (hat tip: Eduwonk).

6 comments:

kallikak said...

What, precisely, is the difference between dilettante Cathie Black and the bored billionaires and hedge-fund dead-enders who are fueling the reform movement?

Is your evidence that Dennis Walcott "genuinely seems to care about the schools" based on Friday's photo-op showing him walking his grandson to class?

NJ Left Behind said...

Com'on, Kallikak, give me just a smidgen of credit. Here's Walcott's bio: http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.047d873163b300bc6c4451f401c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=nyc_photo_slide&catID=1194&doc_na

kallikak said...

From Dennis Walcott's Wikipedia bio:

"Although Walcott lacks training as a schools administrator[2] and requires a waiver from the New York State Education Department under Education Commissioner David M. Steiner..."

You were saying...

NJ Left Behind said...

He's a former teacher. He's got graduate degrees in education. He oversaw the NYC DOE and and the Department of Youth and Community Development. I'm not sure what you're looking for.

kallikak said...

I'd be looking for someone who is an experienced, hands-on educational administrator of an enterprise within at least one order of magnitude of the NYC public school system.

Mr. Walcott, while certainly well-intentioned and somewhat experienced (from an oversight, as opposed to operational, perspective) in such matters, is more of a political operator who was likely chosen by the Mayor to cover what most people perceive as a political gaffe by His Honor.

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