Cathie Black Has Been to the South Bronx, ‘And That’s About As Realistic As You Can Get’

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Coming from the lofty if vicious world of magazines as a Hearst exec, incoming city schools chancellor Cathie Black was initially rejected for the gig, probably based on lack of experience. So now that she’s in, Black’s on “a whirlwind” two-week tour of city schools in order to prepare for the job. But will that really help her understand the needs of city schools? City Room notes that Black spent only about 45 minutes at most schools, “moving quickly through the classrooms, accompanied by a small entourage.” The blog reports:



An assistant principal at Medgar in Crown Heights said Black’s visit “doesn’t do us justice.” She explained: “It’s hard to capture a school in a few minutes. You really have to spend some more time with us.” The principal of the same school said he did not have time to get into the details of his educational philosophy with Black, like how important it is to focus on sports and the arts, as well as academics: “She needs to hear this more,” he said. “I think the focus is wrong. But I’m not at that level yet where I can advise the chancellor.” Presumably tongue-in-cheek, he added: “I’m only a little principal here in Crown Heights.”

Sounds like she’s connecting great with everybody, and there are no concerns that she’s out of touch with inner-city schools after having worked in a literal glass tower for the past ten years. Take her interaction with Crown Heights sixth graders, for example:



New Chancellor Getting Up to Speed, in a Hurry [City Room/NYT]
Principal says new schools head Cathie Black isn’t spending enough time in city schools [NYDN]