Posts tagged "Cathleen Black"
December 8, 2010
A group of city parents, including State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, has filed the second legal challenge to the appointment of publishing executive Cathie Black as schools chancellor.
Like the first lawsuit, which a Brooklyn parent filed last week, the challenge focuses on the waiver that State Education Commissioner David Steiner granted Black to exempt her from the education certification normally required for school district leaders.
Steiner granted Black the waiver on the condition that Black appoint a seasoned educator as Chief Academic Officer.
In today’s suit, lawyers Norman Siegel and Herbert Teitelbaum argue that the state law that says the commissioner may grant a waiver to candidates with experience that is “substantially equivalent” to the certification cannot be interpreted to also consider the qualifications of a deputy.
Many of the parents named as plaintiffs of the suit are members of the “Deny Waiver Coalition,” the group that has spearheaded the opposition to Black’s appointment. (more…)
December 3, 2010
For her first sit-down interview today, Cathie Black enjoyed a friendly softball toss with WABC 7′s Art McFarland.
In the first excerpt of the interview to air, Black defended her qualifications as a manager against critics who charge that she lacks the education credentials necessary to do a good job.
“We’re all human beings,” she said. “It is about people. After all, it is about people. They can be little people as young students or teachers or principals or any of the other organizations that surrounds it.”
McFarland then asked if Black expected the public outrage over her appointment.
“First of all, I’m not taking it personally,” she said. “They don’t know me. If they knew me and said this, that’s something different. But they don’t know me. So they’re venting their anger. I have three words: let’s go forward. None of this is going to change the outcome. So let’s go forward, together.”
This clip, the first excerpt of McFarland’s long interview with Black, did not include more details about how Black intends to move the school system forward. McFarland said that other sections will discuss Black’s plans.
GothamSchools has formally requested an interview with Black through the Department of Education. We don’t usually release our interview questions in advance, but we thought in this case we’d make an exception. Add your own questions for her in the comments.
- What is your theory of change for public education? Do you favor incremental change, as Randi Weingarten has, or do you endorse Michelle Rhee’s idea of radical change? What are the pros and cons of each?
- Can you be more specific about what you mean by good management? And who are the people that the chancellor is responsible for managing, in your mind?
- What factors will you consider when you decide whether to close a school? (more…)
December 3, 2010
Cathie Black’s radio silence appears to be ending.
Today the chancellor appointee gave her first formal interview since Mayor Michael Bloomberg named her to the post more than three weeks ago. The appearance comes after criticism that the city has kept Black shielded from the public eye.
WABC 7 reporter Art McFarland accompanied Black on a visit to the Spruce Street School, an elementary school located at the Department of Education’s Tweed Courthouse headquarters. The DOE has already tweeted a photograph from the segment, which will air this evening.
A DOE spokeswoman did not respond to a query about whether other reporters will now have access to Ms. Black.
ABC didn’t get Black’s first sit-down. That honor goes to NBC’s “The Apprentice.” On an episode that aired two weeks ago, one contestant won a meeting with Black, but footage of the meeting wasn’t televised. Now it has been posted as a web exclusive on NBC’s site.
In the clip, Black gives business advice to the contestant, identified as Steuart, a “fledgling entrepreneur” with some failed ventures under his belt. Black shares the lessons she learned from her experience closing magazines at Hearst.
“What we learned was that in this economy, in the world today, in this changing media culture, that we have to do it with a much smaller team,” she said. “Whenever I hear about somebody starting a business, I say, ‘keep your overhead low.’”
Black was scheduled for another meeting today, with UFT President Michael Mulgrew, sources said. That meeting got postponed, though it’s not clear why.
December 2, 2010
Although publishing executive Cathleen Black cleared the last formal hurdle to her appointment as chancellor on Monday, opponents of her appointment aren’t giving up yet.
More than 100 people converged on the steps of the Department of Education’s headquarters at Tweed Courthouse this evening — the largest protest yet against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s choice for chancellor — and legal action to block the appointment may be coming within days.
Roger Wareham, an attorney working with City Councilman Charles Barron and the Freedom Party, said he plans to file suit against State Education Commissioner David Steiner, who this week waived the legal credential requirements that Black needed to become chancellor. (more…)
December 1, 2010
Black’s school visits have drawn particular interest because she is starting her new job with very little experience in public education under her belt. Black has also given no formal interviews so far and little is known about her stances on policy questions.
Historically, the schools the chancellor visits also tend to signal what characteristics and practices the DOE is promoting.
In response to requests from several reporters, DOE spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said that she would release the name of schools the chancellor visits only after the school day ended. Today, Black visited two schools, P.S. 111 and P.S. 78 in Queens, Ravitz said this afternoon.
“Part of being chancellor is visiting schools and talking with principals, teachers and parents openly and candidly about what is happening in their school community,” Ravitz said. “Having TV cameras and reporters over your shoulder is often not conducive to such an open exchange. So there will be public visits and private visits.”
It’s an interesting stance for the city to take, given that part of the city’s legal argument for releasing teacher effectiveness scores is that public employees do not have an expectation of privacy.
A group of the city’s education beat reporters from four news outlets, including GothamSchools, are sending the following letter to Black, asking that the city not wait until after she has left a school to let reporters know she visited.
November 30, 2010
Schools chancellor-to-be Cathleen Black introduced herself twice today.
One introduction was in person, made to parents, teachers and the press at a Bronx elementary school. The other came in the form of an e-mail sent to Department of Education staffers this afternoon.
“You might have heard or read a little about me in the past few weeks,” Black writes in the message. “But I would like the opportunity to tell you in my own words who I am and why I am excited about this job.”
For four decades I devoted my professional life to blazing trails in the magazine and publishing industry. I got where I am today by working hard, making bold decisions, and listening closely to the strong teams I’ve had around me. I intend to proceed in the same way during my upcoming tenure at the DOE.
Black also gives a hint about the working relationship she could develop with new Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky and Chief Operating Officer Sharon Greenberger. (more…)
November 30, 2010
At her first public visit to a city school today, newly green-lighted chancellor-to-be Cathleen Black met a handful of students and teachers, praised the student’s artwork on the walls, and was deemed a “natural teacher” by the school’s principal.
Black visited the Bronx’s P.S. 109 this morning, the day after State Education Commissioner David Steiner formally gave her the go-ahead to become chancellor. She was met by a gaggle of reporters and some parents who have waited three weeks to speak to her.
“It’s the beginning of a whole new era and I’m really excited,” Black said as she stopped briefly for questions before entering the school for a tour.
Black, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Chancellor Dennis Walcott, greeted students and parents as they arrived. Black then toured classes, stopping to read the book “Caps for Sale” to a class of first-graders.
Black admitted that she is approaching her school visits as a learning experience. The new chancellor officially takes office on January 3 but said she plans to continue to visit schools before then.
“I’m very much of an outreach person, historically,” she said. “I look forward to it because that’s where I’m going to learn more, and I want to be in the schools and listen to the children, and get a feel for the schools and a feel for their leadership.” (more…)
November 29, 2010
As expected, State Education Commissioner David Steiner has granted publishing executive Cathleen Black the waiver she needs to become the city’s next schools chancellor.
Steiner’s decision follows a deal struck between city and state officials, the details of which emerged late last week. The agreement called for Black to promote Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky to a new position of Chief Academic Officer and was designed to ameliorate Steiner’s concerns about Black’s lack of experience in the education field.
Under state law, the commissioner is allow to waive the requirements for education experience and certification if the chancellor candidate’s experience is “substantially equivalent.”
In his letter today, Steiner cites the waiver that his predecessor, Richard Mills, gave former Chancellor Harold Levy 2000. In that case, Mills wrote that the chancellor’s experience did not need to mirror the required credentials, but rather that the candidate’s experience has prepared her for the chancellor’s job.
“After careful review of the record before me it is my judgment that, when viewed in its entirety, Ms. Black’s training, background and experience are substantially equivalent to the certification requirements set forth in law,” Steiner writes. (more…)
November 23, 2010
A Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found that most New Yorkers do not think publishing executive Cathie Black is qualified to run the city’s school system. Her approval rating dropped further when voters with children in the public schools were polled.
Sixty-two percent of parents with children in the public school system disapprove of Mayor Bloomberg’s choice for the next chancellor and 63 percent say Black isn’t qualified. Fifty-one percent of voters in general think she’s not fit for the job.
A majority of voters, 64 percent, think that experience in education is important for whoever manages the city’s school system.
“Do New Yorkers approve of the Black appointment? Does she have the right experience? No and no, voters say,” said Quinnipiac pollster Mickey Carroll in a statement. (more…)
November 22, 2010
We now know what classes Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s schools chancellor appointee Cathleen Black took in college, but how well she did in them remains a mystery.
Black took mainly English and theology classes as an undergraduate at Trinity College in the 1960s. She spent her junior year studying in Rome, learning to speak Italian and studying European and art history.
But Black’s academic record there is still unknown. The state education department released Black’s transcript today, but redacted her grades, citing privacy concerns. The city also declined to release Black’s grades.
At her all-girls Catholic high school in Chicago, Black has been described as a hard worker but not a standout student.
Outgoing chancellor Joel Klein’s grades were made public last week by the New York Times. Klein had a stellar academic record, though he did receive B’s in “Philosophy of Education” and “Guidance in Human Learning.”
Black’s transcript, with grades redacted, is below. (more…)