Thursday, January 20, 2011

Black Boo-Boo at PEP: Counts One Million, One Hundred Thousand ATRs

So she confused  the number of kids in the school system with the number of ATRs. Picky, picky, picky. Did everyone in the press miss this? She was actually reading from a script and got this totally wrong.

Radio Rahim taped my comments and posted them at:
Heading over to Jamaica HS hearing. Check back later for vids of Real Reformers and GEM rocking the PEP house and more links.

Here is a report worth checking out from NY Mag Daily intel:

New schools chancellor and former Hearst executive Cathie Black had to expect a tough crowd at her first Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Fort Greene last night. Brooklyn blogs have been roiling over plans to address funding issues at Park Slope's John Jay High School, which is attended mostly by minority students from outside the neighborhood, by cramming an "elite" school, modeled after Manhattan's prestigious, largely white Millennium High School, into the building. The proposal lead more than one resident to wonder if John Jay was about to go apartheid with funding going to a separate school that catered to white students rather than being invested in John Jay's existing mold-, asbestos-, and minority-filled classrooms. Despite pleas for civility (wait, are we still trying to do that?), the crowd jeered and booed Black as she tried to get through her four-minute prepared speech (Mayor Bloomberg's name elicited a few more). But it only got worse from there.

Before the panel even issued its vote — the measure to bring Millennium to John Jay passed with ten votes in favor and none opposed — parents waved condoms in the air to reference her ill-advised quip that birth control might be a handy overcrowding solution for Manhattan's schools. But the protests didn't just come from the parents.

In a rare example of a principal speaking out publicly against department policy, Jill Bloomberg, of Secondary School for Research, said that the placement of Millennium Brooklyn was an example of putting the interests of upper income white families above those of low-income families of color.

When she went a few seconds over her allotted time, the panel turned off the sound on Bloomberg's microphone. She finished her speech by shouting and led the crowd in a chant, "Integration, yes; segregation, no."

Even children were swept up in the furor. Addressing the notion that Millennium will help Park Slope parents whose kids are edged out of competitive Manhattan public schools at the expense of existing minority students, Kwaesi Laguer, an 11th grader on campus said, "You are saying that our school isn't good enough for Park Slope residents. Why don't you use the money to help make our schools better?"

Black began her speech with rare praise for the panel, which GothamSchools says "has been belittled as a rubber stamp to the mayor by some and as an opportunity for political theater by others." Impromptu theater, public chanting, comedy routines — no one can say she's not trying to keep things entertaining.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


  1. No one needs to boo her. This was a bit unnecessary.
    We already know that she is making foolish comments to the press and public. There is absolutely no reason for her to get booed when speaking in front of a large body of people. I completely understand in what she is saying people strongly oppose but it really does not look good to boo someone.

  2. I'm starting to think that maybe Clueless Cathie may be the BEST thing that could've happened to teachers, parents and students in NYC.
    All the BS is unraveling before our very eyes.

  3. Queens Teacher,

    In a perverse way - and how else could it be with the Department of Dead - you are right. In which case, we should also hope for Bloomberg's arrogance and hubris to be fully demonstrated by his refusal to replace her, even though it's got to be apparent to the Mayor's own people that she's a train wreck.

    In almost every press photo, Derek Walcot is standing in back of her, looking very unhappy, since her cluelessness forces him to step in and answer for her.

  4. Ms Elphaba,

    I do believe the crowd were not booing Ms Black as much as they were booing Mayor Bloomberg, and his policies.
    I also think this may be fair game- since hizzoner himself said that under mayoral control the only pushback available to parents and teachers and students was to boo him at parades.
    So, think of the PEP as our town education parades:
    we get to parade up to the mic for our two minutes, and we get to boo when we hear Bloomberg's names or his latest attacks on teachers/public education.

    Besides Black is merely a proxie- she has no experience, training, or vision for the job.
    She can only stick to a script(if badly) or wander off and make gaff after gaff.
    Not a good situation for any of us, and worthy of some form of criticism. And I say the boos are fair.

  5. Lisa,

    My weakness has been that I have always been too nice. It must be why I have always been a sweet girl.


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