Posted by: Catherine Lugg | January 14, 2011

Relevant Experience Matters

I was quite appalled when NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg selected his old friend (read Crony) Cathie Black to be Chancellor of the NYC Public Schools. Ms. Black, who has decades of experience in the publishing world, has ZERO experience with public schools, much less any experience with teaching, learning or leading public schools. Furthermore, she has NONE of the academic credentials normally expected to obtain state certification (At least a Masters in Educational Administration). She holds a BA, not the Ed.D/Ph.D. that is expected for the leader of a major public school district. Compared to the typical urban superintendent, Ms. Black is woefully under-qualified.

But, like the fabulously wealthy mayor, she is extremely wealthy, is well-versed in the publishing industry and is a Bloomberg friend. SO, Bloomberg rammed her appointment through the political process.

Well, it seems Chancellor Black just made a few political gaffes that NO rookie Vice-Principal would DARE to make. From NY 1:

Parents are not laughing at a wisecrack made by the city’s new schools chancellor over how to fix school overcrowding.

At the meeting last night, parents say they witnessed Cathie Black saying “birth control” would help solve the problem.

Some are also upset that Black compared weighing the needs of different schools to the movie “Sophie’s Choice,” in which the main character had to choose between which of her two children she could keep.

This is just sheer political incompetence and a level of tone deafness that boggles the mind. Furthermore, the gendered and class assumptions are similarly as noxious (She might as well as said, “if only those uncontrollable POOR women would stop having children, my life would be so much easier”). Clearly, Chancellor Black’s professional preparation is sorely lacking. Perhaps for her next vacation, she can live in an apartment building where some of her charges reside, shadowing them through their school days, and see how most of the world lives and tries to learn.

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