Bloomberg Gets His Woman
November 26th, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and state officials — perhaps hoping no one would notice on Thanksgiving weekend — have reportedly reached a deal that would allow publishing executive Cathleen Black to become schools chancellor. State Education commissioner David Steiner will give Black the waiver she needs to compensate for her complete lack of knowledge about or experience in the public schools and, in return, the Bloomberg administration agreed to her having an education deputy — Shael Polakow-Suransky.

Regardless of Polakow-Suransky’s qualifications — he is a career educator who currently serves as the city education department’s deputy chancellor for accountability — the key words about him are “second in command,” as the News phrased it. In other words, Black will be the boss. She will have an educator working for her, just as Joel Klein had educators working for him.

With the news coming on Black Friday, response is lowly slipping in. Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew expressed supported. “We’ve worked well with Mr. Polakow-Suransky in the past, and we look forward to working with him and Ms. Black in the future on the critical issues the school system faces — including reducing the focus on test prep and on better academic intervention for students who are falling behind,” he said in a statement.

Others who had opposed Black expressed disappointment.

The whole drama — where an advisory panel voted against giving Black a waiver, deputy or not — “was all Kabuki theater,” Schools Matter said.

“I thought the whole idea is that the person would be autonomous and not report to Black,” State Sen.-elect Tony Avella, a frequent Bloomberg critic, said. “I don’t think it’s much of a compromise. The mayor still gets his way and we still have somebody who is not an educator running the ship.”

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, a sponsor of a resolution opposing Black’s appointment, told the Times, ” I understand the mayor is used to getting his way and will do anything to prevent egg on his face Ö Still this is about the 1.1 million kids, who are not just numbers to be managed. I was hoping that Commissioner Steiner would be brave enough to listen to the people.”

As the lasting effects, if any, of the mayor’s top secret pick of someone whose major qualification seemed to be being in his social circles, Doug Muzzio, a professor of politics at Baruch College, told the Wall Street Journal, the mayor “still has a black eye — he looks imperious. He looks like he doesn’t care about what people think. His attitude is ‘my way or the highway.’ Now, in this case, he confronted a situation that he just couldn’t ignore and wisely bowed to it but essentially he still got his way.”

By on November 26, 2010, 9:00 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Education | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Bloomberg Gets His Woman”

  1. Gerry Segal Says:
    November 27th, 2010 at 8:43 am

    In Education: Plus Áa change, plus c’est la mÍme chose

    New York City just got a new Chancellor of Education who never taught a class.

    I taught in the south Bronx 45 years ago. Same problems..≠.different players. Nobody cares about the kids. This song I wrote in 1966 tells the whole story.

  2. Susan Epstein Says:
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Bloomberg still got his way. She will continue the destruction of the public education system in NYC. Private charters..small schools etc. It’s all so wrong.

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