Cathie Black, Calling the Kettle Black?


Whatever you think of her, Cathie Black is inarguably a by-the-dictionary unqualified choice for schools chancellor (hence the need for a waiver). It was her lack of traditional qualifications that probably made Mayor Bloomberg interested in her. And now, Black’s come out of the gate swinging against tenure for teachers.

In an interview on Channel 7, according to the Daily News, Black said she could not think of a principal granting tenure or “imagine at age 25…saying to somebody, ‘You have a lifetime guarantee for this position. Just show up every day.’ It’s inconceivable.”

Expect her opponents to have a field day with this one. Not that it’s a surprise, really, that Black is opposed to teacher tenure. Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, and most modern high-profile school superintendents blame the ills of modern education, partially or in full, on tenured teachers. When she was being opposed by the usual suspects, we figured it was because everyone expected her to carry on the policies of her predecessor, and she is.

But the irony is a bit heavy, especially how quickly she’s making it apparent. Black was so unqualified for her job that not only did she need a waiver, but the panel State Education Commissioner David Steiner convened to evaluate the request voted four to two not to grant it. Regardless, someone told her to “just show up every day” and she could have the job.

So we thought she might wait a moment before calling out unqualified teachers, just to let the dust settle. But this Black doesn’t mind calling the pot black, apparently.