Again, as it should be:
The candidacy of Cathleen P. Black, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's choice to be chancellor of the New York City schools, was in jeopardy on Tuesday as both a panel weighing her credentials and the state official who will determine her fate expressed deep doubts about her readiness for the job.
At the meeting of the advisory panel on Tuesday, Dr. Steiner offered three options: vote yes on the waiver, vote no or vote "not at this time," meaning the panel would reconsider the application if it were resubmitted with a change like the addition of a chief academic officer to oversee teaching, learning and accountability.Four members voted "no" outright, two voted "yes" and two voted "not at this time." Dr. Steiner had been criticized for his choice of panelists: four of them had personal or professional ties to the mayor.
I don't know Ms. Black well. Despite that, I have a tremendous amount of confidence that she can be incredibly effective in her new role. Why? Because what is required in taking over the reins from Chancellor Klein, to ensure that the school district continues on the positive trajectory that it has been on, is not deep instructional knowledge or experience in education. She will have experts who will drive the decisions and improvement in those areas. What she will need is great management skills and incredible courage. Based on everything I've seen and read, she has those qualities in spades.The work Cathie Black has in front of her is about creating a vision for the NYC public schools and then creating the culture, environment, and organization to realize that vision. As the city faces a budget crunch and the potential of layoffs, how will she ensure that the city's children do not lose some of their best and most promising teachers? How will she be able to build on the foundation set by Chancellor Klein to more actively engage parents in the reform efforts at the local level? What has to happen to ensure that the most highly effective teachers in the system are recognized, rewarded, and made to feel valued? How will the processes unfold to ensure that poor performing schools can continue to be closed and better options made available to all children? These are the challenges that lie ahead for Cathie Black. If she surrounds herself with a talented, knowledgeable staff, builds trust with stakeholders, is unafraid to make tough decisions, and manages her resources smartly, she can be successful.None of that requires a PhD in education or 20 years in the profession...