Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Klein Exits

After almost eight years revolutionizing the NYC schools, a reign that saw test scores skyrocket along with graduation rates, Joel Klein decided that it was now safe to pass the torch on to someone else. Klein, with no educational background, overcame this deficiency in making NYC schools the envy of all the land.

You all can wake up now, but please prepare yourselves for the avalanche of total BS from the mayor and the lucky woman who was anointed by Mayor Bloomberg to succeed the overrated Mr. Klein. Daily Politics has the story: "Mayor Bloomberg tapped a high-profile businesswoman as New York's new schools chancellor after Joel Klein resigned from the job he's held for eight years. Cathie Black, the chair of Hearst Magazines, was hailed by Hizzoner as "a great New Yorker" and described as "brilliant, innovative and driven. She is a superstar manager who has succeeded in the private sector," Bloomberg said of Black."

Of course, Ms. Black has no clue about any facet of the city's public schools-and actually sends her own children to boarding school in Connecticut-keeping with the Bloomberg tradition: "Asked why he didn't pick somebody with a traditional education background, the mayor said he wanted a chancellor who could build on what Klein started and prepare the city's school children for the jobs of the future. "Cathie is a world class manager," added Bloomberg, who said he told Black as part of his job pitch that it was "a chance to change the world."

Build on what, we're not sure-and the drapes have been opened on the less than stellar achievements of the kleineman. Black is, however, going to need a waiver since she has no educational credentials-and we hope the state's ed chancellor doesn't rubber stamp this appointment. Crain's has the details: "Ms. Black serves on the advisory council of the Harlem Village Academy, a charter school, and is a trustee of the University of Notre Dame, but otherwise has no notable education experience. Mr. Bloomberg said he chose her because she is “a world class manager.” The selection followed a national search, and the appointment is pending a waiver by State Education Commissioner David Steiner. Mr. Bloomberg said that he approached Ms. Black and asked her to consider the job."

DP reports on just how silly this all is: "Asked how much experience she's had dealing with unions, Black conceded, "I've had limited exposure to unions." She also acknowledged that two kids attended a boarding school in Connecticut, not city schools. A product of the south side of Chicago, Black attended parochial schools as a child. She is married to lawyer Tom Harvey and lives in Manhattan."

But when you live in La La Land, as does the mayor, reality doesn't have to intrude too rudely: "Bloomberg praised Klein for turning a school system that was "a case study for dysfunction" into a national model." Not to be outdone, the NY Times allows the mayor delusional full throttle: "He leaves a legacy of achievement that makes him one of the most important and transformational educational leaders of our time,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Joel has implemented innovative changes that have made an enormous difference in the lives of millions of children.”

Can we give Mike a saliva test? Will anyone point out how silly the Naked Emperor looks? Not while the checkbook remains open, and the pen firmly grasped in the mayor's hand. As for Cathie Blck, we are reminded of Karl Marx's observation about Napolean III:

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”