Reaction to New York Leadership Shakeup

By Christina A. Samuels — April 08, 2011 1 min read
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The New York tabloids had a gleeful time coming up with headlines on the story about Cathleen Black being dismissed as New York’s schools chief. (The New York Times, predictably, played it straight.)

After the stunning announcement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg moved quickly to request a waiver for Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, his pick as Black’s successor. The waiver letter (via Gotham Schools) devotes several paragraphs to Walcott’s education experience prior to his appointment as deputy mayor in 2002. He spent a year and a half as a kindergarten teacher before creating a mentorship program in Queens. Walcott has a master’s degree in social work and in education, and eventually rose to become president of the New York Urban League in 1990. Walcott is also a product of New York schools, as are his children and his grandson.

(David Steiner, the state education commissioner, will be the person to grant a waiver. He also announced yesterday that he would be stepping down at the end of the year.)

While Bloomberg is eager to move on to the next chapter, New Yorkers were still digesting all the changes. A sample of stories:

The shakeup reflects Bloomberg’s “stumbles” in his third term (The New York Times);

Decision came as a surprise to Black (The New York Times);

The mayor calls Black “phenomenally competent” (New York Daily News);

Why the mayor “axed” Black (New York Post);

And finally, this zinger, via The Wall Street Journal: “Asked what grade he’d give Black, [New York teachers’ union head Michael Mulgrew] smiled and replied: “She wasn’t in the class for a semester so it wouldn’t be correct for me to give her a grade.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.