It’s been a pretty eventful 24 hours on the education beat in New York City. Given how unpopular Cathie Black was before she even started as Chancellor, there was far less glee at her ouster than we were expecting. Many of her critics may be experiencing schadenfreude privately, but they weren’t exactly singing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” in public.
For the most part, Black’s detractors showed pity towards her implosion, and displayed skepticism about her much better liked potential replacement. Here are the 10 best quotes summing up Black’s departure, State Education Commissioner David Steiner’s following act, and Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott’s pending arrival.
10. “We wasted so much time. And that’s what really angers me. It’s hard to dance in the street because they got rid of somebody so incompetent. She should have never been there.” Councilman Charles Barron on why he wasn’t happy to learn the news.
9. “Can I admit it now w/out people yelling at me? I felt sorry for Cathie Black.” Leonie Hamison on Twitter, president of Class Size Matters and self-appointed spokeswoman of all NYC public school parents. Haimson, who never really had anything nice to say about Bloomberg, Klein or Black, shockingly kind of let Black off the hook, writing in the Times yesterday that “Cathie Black came in and inherited a huge mess.”
8. “Walcott is a proven ‘good negro’ to white folks,” and “can become Bloomberg’s and his class allies’ blackface to their national privatizing of public education policies.” Sam Anderson on the blog Education Notes, “connecting dots” between Education Secretary Arne Duncan, President Obama, Al Sharpton, Mayor Bloomberg, and black popular support in the privatization of public education. (We’re not sure if he meant “black face” or, literally, “blackface.”)
6. It was a “bizarre coincidence.” State Education Commissioner David Steiner on the implausible timing that he announced his resignation just hours after Black (a woman he’d granted a waiver for her job despite a recommendation not to by a board of Bloomberg appointees) quit. On his to-do list before he goes: deciding whether to grant a waiver to the technically unqualified Walcott.)
5. “Joel Klein: Deputies’ departures a selling point for Cathie Black.” This headline from Gotham Schools was our favorite quickly stale story of yesterday. Former Chancellor Klein was defending the numerous high level defections of Deputy Chancellors around Black, and saying she could use it to her advantage to recruit top talent. She was shown the door herself minutes after this was posted.
4. “There were times when I ruffled feathers. Dennis tried to calm things down.” Here’s Klein just a few hours later on Dennis Walcott. Indeed, we can verify, at meetings where parents were screaming at Klein to “stop looking at your goddamn Blackberry” or throwing condoms at Cathie Black, Walcott was a constant presence in the audience, calmly engaging with heated families and quietly listening to their concerns until the wee hours of the morning.
3. “She wasn’t in the class for a semester so it wouldn’t be correct for me to give her a grade.” UFT President Michael Mulgrew, refusing to comment personally on Black after her brief tenure.
2. “Cathie Black is Bloomberg’s Harriet Miers.” Politico’s Maggie Haberman.
1. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” former Chancellor Cathie Black speaking to the Daily News after resigning, “And I went out and bought a new pair of running shoes, so I’m off.” Perhaps she took advice from Arachne, Julie Taymor’s shoe shopping villain (also unpopular and misunderstood by the masses) whom Bono seems ready to give walking papers.