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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cathie Black Is Booed In Brooklyn's PEP Meeting

We are now seeing a war that may cloud the real issue of getting public schools to give children a good - no, excellent - education.

Parents, teachers and others who are furious at Mayor Bloomberg's lack of concern for whatever anyone says, are acting out their frustration by booing Cathie Black wherever she appears. I agree with the frustration but what we, the opposition to Black, must try to do is act politically correct in our opposition. I mean, when a newspaper publishes a story about parents booing Black, be vigilant of the facts and watch if the article belittles the protesters more than what/who they are protesting. We dont want to look (the media is built on 'spin', remember) "worse" than Cathie, do we?

Mike Bloomberg is a person who never admits he made a mistake. He sweayed out Joel Klein and fired him when he had the 'right' timing to do so, even though, sources tell me, he couldn't stand Klein for years. Bloomberg will not ask Cathie Black to step down from her new position as the pretend Chancellor (I have not seen her contract yet). So, Cathie Black should realize how diverting her leadership is, and resign on her own.

I'm not saying that the crowd that booed Cathie Black at the January 18 2011 Panel For Educational Policy meeting was in error, I just hope that the protest against her continued employment at the helm of the New York City Board of Education stays focused and is effective. It looks easy to do, as Ms. Black had to read from a script at the PEP meeting and cannot speak out on her own.

Norm Scott speaks about Black's appointment at PEP

Julie Cavanagh on the placement of Millenium in Brooklyn

Coalition For Public Education

As I wrote earlier, Black should resign.

Schools Chancellor Met With Jeers At First Public Hearing

By: Lindsey Christ, NY1

Schools Chancellor Cathie Black received anything but a warm reception Wednesday at the first public hearing of her career in Brooklyn.

At times, the couple hundred members of the public at Brooklyn Technical High School booed Black when she began to speak at a hearing of the Panel for Educational Policy. Her microphone malfunctioned, but the audience quickly filled the silence.

This was despite the opening remarks of PEP Chairman Tino Hernandez, who lectured to the audience, "We have to have a public discourse that's civil and is conducted with decorum and I believe that we as New Yorkers can do that." Subsequently, he kept asking the crowd to show "some civility and decorum."

The meeting was the last chance for the public to speak to panel members about the 25 proposed school closures. One group of public speakers at one point sang during their turn to speak, "This little school of mine, I'm not gonna let it close."

Black also commented on how the city decides which teachers to keep -- a topic that was discussed during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's State of the City address earlier in the day.

"As we face enormous budget challenges and the harsh possibility of teacher layoffs, there is no way that we can afford to lose our brightest teachers," said Black. "We need to change the 'last in, first out' policy, so that we are keeping our best teachers above all, regardless how long they have been in the system."
Eighty members of the public signed up to speak, each getting two minutes at the microphone. There was a full agenda before the panel, but the majority of the comments had to do with a proposal to move a new selective high school, to be called Brooklyn Millennium, into the John Jay Campus.

Three high schools already share that campus and many teachers, students and administrators said they fear the primarily black and Hispanic students would be pushed aside by the new school.

After the public comments, the panel members discussed the issues and asked Department of Education officials questions for almost an hour. It was an unusually lengthy debate for a panel known for having very little discussion before voting.

In the end, 11 members voted in favor of the new high school moving into John Jay and two abstained.

Before the vote, DOE officials promised to monitor the situation closely, make several changes and follow up with the schools and panel members about the issues at John Jay.

"If I can speak for everyone collectively, we are hearing some very serious concerns," said Hernandez. "We want to be assured that Millennium, when we vote to approve to relocate it, that there's going to be an aggressive outreach strategy."

Black did not speak again after reading her prepared remarks. The five-hour meeting was likely a hint of what she will face in two weeks, when the panel holds two special meetings to consider proposals to close 25 schools for poor performance.

New Schools Chancellor Gets Booed In Brooklyn

New schools chancellor and former Hearst executive Cathie Black had to expect a tough crowd at her first Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Fort Greene last night. Brooklyn blogs have been roiling over plans to address funding issues at Park Slope's John Jay High School, which is attended mostly by minority students from outside the neighborhood, by cramming an "elite" school, modeled after Manhattan's prestigious, largely white Millennium High School, into the building. The proposal lead more than one resident to wonder if John Jay was about to go apartheid with funding going to a separate school that catered to white students rather than being invested in John Jay's existing mold-, asbestos-, and minority-filled classrooms. Despite pleas for civility (wait, are we still trying to do that?), the crowd jeered and booed Black as she tried to get through her four-minute prepared speech (Mayor Bloomberg's name elicited a few more). But it only got worse from there.

Before the panel even issued its vote — the measure to bring Millennium to John Jay passed with ten votes in favor and none opposed — parents waved condoms in the air to reference her ill-advised quip that birth control might be a handy overcrowding solution for Manhattan's schools. But the protests didn't just come from the parents.

In a rare example of a principal speaking out publicly against department policy, Jill Bloomberg, of Secondary School for Research, said that the placement of Millennium Brooklyn was an example of putting the interests of upper income white families above those of low-income families of color.

When she went a few seconds over her allotted time, the panel turned off the sound on Bloomberg's microphone. She finished her speech by shouting and led the crowd in a chant, "Integration, yes; segregation, no."

Even children were swept up in the furor. Addressing the notion that Millennium will help Park Slope parents whose kids are edged out of competitive Manhattan public schools at the expense of existing minority students, Kwaesi Laguer, an 11th grader on campus said, "You are saying that our school isn't good enough for Park Slope residents. Why don't you use the money to help make our schools better?"

Black began her speech with rare praise for the panel, which GothamSchools says "has been belittled as a rubber stamp to the mayor by some and as an opportunity for political theater by others." Impromptu theater, public chanting, comedy routines — no one can say she's not trying to keep things entertaining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And people laugh about you at the DOE as you walk buy. We also count the number of teachers that you helped get terminated. The sad thing is that you know this and you continue on your quest anyway. Nice work. Get a life.