Cathie Black Confronted by a Mob of Angry Parents

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Photo: Getty Images

Cathie Black must have known it wasn't going to be all sharpening pencils and flipping through textbooks, but she probably didn't imagine being Bloomberg's chancellor of schools would put her front and center for a verbal attack. Tonight at a hearing on the proposed closure of twelve Brooklyn schools, the former Hearst exec was verbally lambasted by a cadre of angry parents. Many of the nearly 1,800 attendees expressed their disappointment — quite loudly — by chanting "Cathie Black is wack" and "Black must go." Heckles and jeers were heard throughout the duration of Black's speech, and nearly the entire crowd walked out during the meeting in protest.

Black's troubles started Tuesday night, when she was at odds with another angry group of parents and didn't handle it well. While trying to speak to the crowd at Tuesday's school-closure hearing, Black admonished audience members for shouting. "I can not speak if you are shouting," she said, which elicited a chorus of boos. It was at Tuesday's hearing that Black and Mayor Bloomberg's Panel for Educational Policy voted to close ten schools. Tonight the crowd fought back. "What in the world is the matter with you?" asked City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn). "You show utter contempt and scorn for the parents you should be serving. If you don’t want to be here, then leave — because many of us don’t want you here anyway." Charles Barron (D-East New York) agreed. "That little ugly sound you made on TV, jeering our parents, is the height of disrespect.’’

Many were unhappy with Bloomberg's appointment of Black to the education chancellor post, citing her lack of education experience. "Cathie Black is not qualified to teach in a classroom, much less run a school system," said Barron.

Schools Chancellor Black comes under verbal attack at B'klyn school closure hearing [NYP]