Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Farina vs. Cashin: Battle of Philosophies, Part 1

Rachel Monahan is reporting that the job of chancellor is all hers if Carmen Farina wants it. Farina only has emerged as a serious candidate over the past few days given her stated desire to spend time with her grandkid(s). I hear from some people this is close to a done deal. And given the options it is one I support despite some feelings that Farina doesn't always live in the real world -- I'll expound on that in a follow-up.

The candidacy of Kathy Cashin, who has been lobbying for the job for many years, is left hanging by a thread.

Cashin and Farina represent 2 very different education philosophies that have run through the NYC school system over the past 50 years. Farina comes from District 15 (Park Slope dominated) of fairly wealthy families compared to the rest of the city -- though it does have poverty areas like Sunset Park. She was also a principal at PS 6 on the upper east side. Call her a "constructivist", Teachers College idealogue -- which by the way, no matter how bad it was implemented by Joel Klein/Diana Lam, is a concept I support.

Cashin comes from the opposite extreme -- core E.D Hirsh Core Knowledge which Sol Stern raves about. (Sol Stern explains the personal reasons for joining one side of the curriculum wars. (City Journal)

These are 2 very different visions and both Farina as Region 8 head (Dist 14, 15, 13) and Cashin as Region 5 head dealt with.

Though they will never say it out loud, Cashin is the UFT candidate and has been for a long time due to the strong connections they have with her. As Region 5 Supt. Cashin gave the UFT space in 2 schools in East NY (Dist. 19) for their charters. Region 5 was made up of 2 Bklyn districts -- Cashin's old D. 23 in Ocean-Hill Brownsville -- scene of the '68 strike -- plus D. 27 in Queens -- Ozone Park and Rockaway -- a massive 60 school district.

Peter Goodman's Ed in the Apple blog is always a good weather vane as to UFT thinking. Watch how he presents Cashin and Farina and Starr, trying to sell Cashin:
Candidates, at least candidates in the press (see Gotham Schools here and the NY Daily News here) that espouse de Blasio’s policies are Josh Starr, superintendent in Montgomery County and Kathleen Cashin, a member of the Board of Regents with a long resume within New York City. Starr, in a high wealth district has been an aggressive opponent of testing, and had a lackluster six years as superintendent in Stamford, Cashin, in her role as a regent, voted against the Principal/Teacher Evaluation Plan and aggressively supports parents and classroom teacher, she was a beloved and highly effective superintendent in the poorest districts in New York City. Carmen Farina, who has been “out of the loop” for years, is a close advisor to de Blasio.
Cashin was not much loved due to a high-handed style - except by the UFT (who at one point made fun of her people for high levels of micro-managment.) And note how Goodman praises Cashin for voting against the plan she knew would fail as a way to gain supporters.

More later

Carmen Farina, a former deputy city schools chancellor, has emerged as a leading contender for the top education job, the Daily News has learned.
Farina — an unofficial yet key education adviser to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio — has repeatedly denied a willingness to return from retirement. This week she’s made the slight shift of refusing to answer a reporter’s questions about whether she’d consider the post.
No decision has been made yet, sources and the transition team said.
“Mayor-elect de Blasio is reviewing candidates for chancellor,” said transition spokeswoman Lis Smith. “When he makes his decision, he will announce it.”

Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News

“Mayor-elect de Blasio is reviewing candidates for chancellor,” said transition spokeswoman Lis Smith. “When he makes his decision, he will announce it.”

One Farina backer said she’s being tempted with the offer to take the job for an interim period . Another insider who has spoken with the de Blasio camp called her a back-up plan.
Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Kaya Henderson and Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are also on the list but are closely identified with school closure — a reform policy of the Bloomberg administration that de Blasio has criticized.
Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr has been mentioned, but may have Obama administration heavyweights lobbying de Blasio not to consider him because of his strong anti-testing positions, sources said.
Also mentioned by sources is Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who does not have administration experience, and Kathleen Cashin, a former city superintendent and member of the state Board of Regents, who has yet to get an audience with de Blasio, sources said.


  1. Cashin voted against the evals because of the testing component. Where does Farina stand on that issue?

  2. Please tell me she is not for TC coming back to the school system. Let's go back to the basal reader where stories and grammar are included in the curriculum. Teachers cannot write curriculum without books to support students reading. TC was an utopia that fail. Want students to read teacher them with good literature to teach. It's not fair for teachers to dig for stories to help teach students basic reading skills and grammar without materials needed. Students need to be able to take books home and learn how to annotate the text and use text evidence to prove their thesis when writing. Try not have an uniform text for all students and you will see the chaos TC created since Mr. Bloomberg took over the DOE.


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