Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Oppose Walcott Waiver/List (in formation) of Those Who Had Accolades for Black Appointment

by Julie Cavanagh
I am wondering how many people actually do support Wolcott for Chancellor and/or think he is qualified?

I don't think he is actually qualified nor do I fully support his appointment. While it is true that he has more experience than Klein and Black, that is a pretty low bar to be setting. One and a half years in a K day care program, the Urban League, and being Deputy Mayor (and of course a BS and MS in education) does not mean he is qualified for a supervisory and administrative position overseeing the largest school district in the country. The mistake (and I am being generous calling it a mistake) that the corporate reformers keep making is that folks running education systems and schools do not need actual classroom and school-based experiences, both instructional and in leadership, in order to effectively lead our schools. This is just ridiculous and goes against any kind of common sense.

I want, and our children deserve, a Chancellor who understands the intimacies and the challenges those in education, and the children in our schools, face from the lunchroom to the classroom, to managing a school-based budget, to evaluating educators and administrators... these are the experiences that are vital to running an education system. Without them, how could you possibly understand the implications and the consequences of the policies and decisions you make!?

I understand that it is very difficult to mount a campaign to "Deny the Waiver for Wolcott"... it may be unseemly in that those who do will just never be satisfied and will always be 'against'... but, I think being against Wolcott is born out of what I, at least, am FOR: 

an education system that is run by a leader who is responsive to the communities, families, and children he/she serves and who has the experiences (and the track record) to be able to do that. Wolcott can not be (and largely has not been) responsive to the citizens of NYC because he has put his full support and faith into Mayor Bloomberg, who parents and educators are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with. Wolcott does not have the experiences of truly working in schools providing him the understanding I believe is necessary to run them.

Having said that, under Bloomberg and Mayoral Control (unless Bloomberg somehow has a moral and ethical paradigm shift), perhaps Walcott is the best we can do... but I would rather fight for what could be, than quietly accept the status quo, which clearly is now corporate reform and chancellors that require waivers.

Thanks to Leonie Haimson for this list of Black supporters:

One of the people supporting her appointment was Michelle Rhee: Joel Kein

“I congratulate Cathie Black on taking on this hugely important role.  Her experience has no doubt prepared her well for the challenges that lie ahead."

Another: Arne Duncan.

“She's smart; she's committed; she's going to have a great team . . . I think she has the potential to be a fantastic leader."

Which just goes to prove that they will say anything that Bloomberg wants them to say.

Here are more supporters, from a DOE press release:

Former Mayors Dinkins, Koch and Giuliani;

Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr.; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro;

State Senators Malcolm A. Smith, Carl Kruger, Andrew Lanza, Marty Golden and Craig Johnson;  

City Council Members James Vacca, Michael C. Nelson, James Gennaro, Dominic M. Recchia, Jr., and Joel Rivera.

Also, the Presidents and Presidents Emeritus of Hunter College, the University of Notre Dame, Bryn Mawr College, Trinity Washington University, Occidental College, the Institute of International Education, and New York University.

Richard Barr:
And there was Gloria Steinem when she was appointed, and Pat Carbine lamenting her dismissal last week.  I guess they figured that if they had a good experience with her at Ms. Magazine 35-odd years ago, there was no reason why NYC's  school kids, teachers and principals wouldn't now.  Everything is transferable, after all, isn't it?

Leonie Haimson


  1. The truth is Walcott will be the same parrot as Klein or anyone else Bloomberg appoints. The mayor is responsible for education, he has mayoral control and the failures of this administration. Blacks departure has a silver lining for education advocates. This big time failure by Bloomberg shows everyone the problem with dictatorial leadership. Hopefully when mayoral control again is up for a vote it will be closed down as the many schools this mayor has closed.

  2. Walcott has been their handmaiden for many years. He was always a charter-school-voucher kind of guy. When it was time, he sold the neighborhood he represented in south Queens down the river. The propaganda mouthpieces we used to refer to as newspapers will, I'm sure, cheer for the cause; true mainstream journalism is almost passe here. He is counting on that.

  3. How can anyone of sane mind think that either Black or Walcott is the answer. Anon. in his/her post nailed it in the first sentence. Altho....The problem might not be with Mayoral control, but more so who the Mayor is. Mike Lupica in his NY News column today answers that question for us.

  4. The problem is with mayoral control when you have faced 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg - and 12 years of Koch who was viciously anti-teacher - and Dinkens wasn't much of a friend either. But that is the UFT line to justify its support for mayoral control, holding out the promise to the members that something will click. Watch and see what Anthony Weiner will do - or anyone else. Basically, we haven't had a friendly mayor since Wagner.


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