Education

12 More Schools Closed; Crowd Blasts Cathie Black; Mayor Bloomberg Blasts Crowd

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In front of a raucous crowd of 2,000 in Brooklyn (see video above), a New York City panel voted early this morning to close 12 more public schools, bringing the week’s total carnage to 22. Jeered by the crowd, Mayor Bloomberg’s schools chancellor, Cathie Black, held her tongue. On Tuesday, Black had mocked the crowd, and that came back to haunt her. Councilman Charles Barron at one point called her out for the “little ugly sound that you made on TV, jeering our parents.”

Later today, Bloomberg called out the protesters who booed and chanted this week while nearly two dozen of their schools were shut down. The mayor described the crowds’ behavior — not the school closures — as “embarrassing” to the whole country.

The United Federation of Teachers bused parents in from all over the city, and they wound up leaving en masse long before the vote in a well-organized walkout.

Last night and this morning, Black seemed determined not to show any emotion and to stick only to the decorous things, saying in her opening statement: “I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out tonight. You’re displaying an admirable commitment to public education and I look forward to hearing your feedback.”

Still, after presiding over the closure of 22 schools in three days, the chancellor did not speak to parents off stage or take questions from reporters.

Decorum was certainly on Bloomberg’s mind later in the day. From the Daily News:

The booing and chanting crowds that disrupted meetings on closing 22 schools this week were “embarrassing” – not just to the city but the entire nation, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday.

The decorum: it’s embarrassing for New York City, New York State, for America. This is not democracy, letting people yell and scream,” Mayor Bloomberg said on the John Gambling radio show.

[sthrasher@villagevoice.com]