“The qualities needed to run the New York City public school system — not only a knowledge of education, but also some understanding of the circumstances of regular New York City students and their families — are not easily learned in the penthouse suite.”—Richard Kahlenberg on the resignation New York City school chancellor Cathie Black
Richard Kahlenberg author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy, has been participating in an ongoing debate on the New York Times site on education. Not surprisingly today’s subject was the resignation of school chancellor Cathie Black after a controversial three-month tenure.
In his post Putting a Theory to Rest, Kahlenberg argues that Black’s resignation should force us to reconsider a in education reform that experts from the private sector should be called in to fix up the “mess” of public education. Black, who had no experience in education spent much of her time being prepped on the issues rather which “prevented her from effectively leading the nation’s largest school district.”
Ultimately, as Kahlenberg writes:
“[Black’s] tenure also exposed the shortcomings of the cult of the private sector. Behind Ms. Black’s appointment seemed to lie the assumption that surely, if someone had succeeded in the rough and tumble of the private market, doing well in the softer, less-well compensated public sector would, by comparison, be a piece of cake. Hedge fund managers, who have played a dominant role in pushing market-oriented school reforms, like nonunionized charter schools, have had their comeuppance as improving achievement has proven far more difficult than they anticipated. And yet the worship of the market is so complete that even a Democratic president’s signature initiative relies on a competitive Race to the Top. In fact, the qualities needed to run the New York City public school system — not only a knowledge of education, but also some understanding of the circumstances of regular New York City students and their families — are not easily learned in the penthouse suite.”