ERIC Number: EJ906462
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-17
Media Leader Tapped to Head New York City Schools
Samuels, Christina A.
Education Week, v30 n12 p1, 16-17 Nov 2010
When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought a leader for the New York City schools in 2002, his outside-the-box choice was Joel I. Klein, a former assistant U.S. attorney general who had no experience as a school administrator. Eight years later, in seeking a replacement for Mr. Klein, Mr. Bloomberg has tapped yet another person from outside education: publishing executive Cathleen P. Black. Her selection as the chancellor of the nation's largest school district appears to have surprised everyone beyond the mayor's inner circle. But as a nontraditional appointee to head a large urban district, she fits a familiar--if debated--pattern. Military officers, business leaders, finance gurus, and state politicians have been among the noneducators chosen to lead city districts in the past 10 to 15 years. What remains to be seen is whether Ms. Black is the right "nontraditional" choice for New York at this point in its school reform efforts. Ms. Black currently is the chairman of the board of Hearst Magazines, a division of the Hearst Corp. that publishes titles such as Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Until earlier this year, she served as the division's president, leading a team of 2,000 employees. In comparison, the New York district has about 135,000 employees. Mr. Klein, with Mayor Bloomberg's backing, has drawn praise for dismantling what critics of the district viewed as old, ineffective systems, while instituting systems that put more power in the hands of principals. At the same time, he has encountered sharp criticism from some parents and education analysts who say that he has ignored community concerns and that he has stressed test performance as the overriding measure of educational success. As chancellor, Ms. Black would face lingering resentment of the approach to school reform the city has pursued since the state legislature gave the mayor control of the district in 2002. She would also oversee a $23 billion annual budget and negotiations with a teachers' union that has gone a year without a new contract. Although Ms. Black has worked with several philanthropic causes, her education connections are as a member of the leadership board of the Harlem Village Academies, a charter school group in New York that she joined earlier this year, and as a trustee of the University of Notre Dame for close to 20 years. Ms. Black's selection must be approved by the state education department because of her lack of education administrator credentials. Such a waiver was granted for Mr. Klein and for his predecessor, former corporate lawyer Harold O. Levy, but a group of city residents is lobbying against a waiver for Ms. Black.
Descriptors: Credentials, School Restructuring, Educational Change, Personnel Selection, Administrative Change, Administrator Evaluation, School Districts, State School District Relationship, Administrator Characteristics, Administrator Qualifications, Public Opinion
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York